Thursday, July 20, 2023

Council approves Community Wealth Building strategy to boost local economy for all

  • Five-year strategy approved at Council
  • Plans will boost Borough economy from within

At a meeting of Full Council on 19 July, Councillors approved a five-year community wealth building strategy to deliver significant local economic, social and environmental benefits to the Borough.

The Council recognises that our local economy and communities face significant financial challenges. Like many places in the UK, the orthodox approach to economic development has not benefited everyone in West Lancashire and there is a need to move to a new approach which is shaped by the needs of people, supported by key partnerships across the public, commercial and social sectors. This new approach will be driven by harnessing the spending power of key local institutions such as the Council to deliver multiple local economic, social, and environmental outcomes. One way this can be done is through buying more goods and services from local businesses.  This is known as community wealth building.

A review by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) identified that significant progress has already been made by the Council as an employer to support community wealth building. Progress made in wider areas such as financial inclusion were also recognised as were further targeted opportunities moving forward that can drive the local economy from within.

The subsequent approved Community Wealth Building Strategy 2023-2028 now consist of three core aims:

  • To embed a community wealth building approach within West Lancashire Borough Council and across wider West Lancashire-based key Institutions such as health and education providers and employers
  • To drive a just, low carbon transition by retrofitting the built environment
  • To build a community-based, decentralised energy system

Councillor Rob Molloy, portfolio holder for Economic Regeneration and Finance, said: "This new strategy represents an incredibly important opportunity for the Borough to take more control of its economic prosperity and we plan to take full advantage of that.

"We have a wealth of skills, resources, businesses and organisations that can work together to ensure more money is being earned, saved and spent within the Borough, as well as encouraging our communities to think differently about things such as off-grid energy generation and making our homes and buildings more energy efficient.

"In uncertain economic times, taking more control of our assets and supporting our local economy from the inside will mean a more secure future for everyone and the Council are committed to being a catalyst for this exciting step-change."

The community wealth building strategy has been developed with the support of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) the UK’s leading organisation around community wealth building, in partnership with both Officers and Members through the Community Wealth Building Cabinet Working Group at West Lancashire Borough Council.