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Economic Justice

First ever local wealth building summit beckons a new era for UK economy

On Tuesday 17 July the UK’s first Local Wealth Building Summit took place at the University of Birmingham to showcase and galvanise the growing movement of people and places taking back control of their local economies.

The summit was organised by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) in partnership with the University of Birmingham and Barrow Cadbury Trust, and took place in Birmingham where a significant programme of Local Wealth Building has been underway, since 2016.

A new CLES report, Local Wealth Building in Birmingham and Beyond: The New Economic Mainstreamdetailing this work was launched at the summit alongside plans to accelerate the scale of the Local Wealth Building movement through the formation of a new centre for excellence.

Neil McInroy at CLES said: “Local Wealth building is a new approach to economic development that addresses the failure of the current economic model to benefit local economies and people. Local Wealth Building was born out of a frustration with ‘development as usual’ approaches that fail to prioritise good employment, reductions in poverty and economic security.”

Local Wealth Building provides a practical framework for generating and spreading wealth within communities. The report charts a course for a future in which local wealth building becomes the mainstream approach to local economic development practice in the UK. It also outlines ten years of CLES’ work on Local Wealth Building and the fruits of this approach, which can now be seen in the growth of inclusive Living Wage jobs, invigorated local supply chains, greater concentrations of local business and increased local spending.

The report goes on to showcase the Local Wealth Building work taking place in Birmingham, Europe’s largest local authority area, where work with six Birmingham based ‘Anchor Institutions’ has demonstrated the potential for them to play a defining role in shaping the city’s economy.

Significantly, the report provides practical steps for local politicians, public sector organisations and people working in local economic development to grow Local Wealth Building across the UK.

To accelerate the adoption of Local Wealth Building (LWB) policy and practice in the UK, CLES has been awarded funding by Barrow Cadbury Trust to develop a centre of excellence and facilitate a new Birmingham Anchor Network.