Thinking small is the key to revitalising flagging local economies.
On 22 May 2014, residents of 161 councils in England, as well as 11 newly formed councils in Northern Ireland, will go to the polls. With economic policy commitments featuring high up in local election manifestos, it’s clear that local economics is a real priority for parties up and down the country.
National economic indicators may be showing growth, but a report published today (12 May 2013) by Co-operatives UK, the apex body for co-operative businesses across the country, questions whether enough is being done to revitalise economies at the most local level.
A number of areas nationwide are suffering from deep-set deprivation and appear almost totally detached from the productive economy. The ‘Ultra-Micro Economics
’ report states that: ‘The levers to kick-start disadvantaged economies into action are most extremely local’, and goes on to explain that repatriating some economic activity, shortening supply chains and allow local economies to service more of their own demand is the key to success.
David Boyle, who authored the report on behalf of Co-operatives UK, said: “Large scale development is often an expensive white elephant that lacks any connection to the people it is supposed to help. More needs to be done to encourage the growth of local enterprises, including co-operatives. We need a patient and dedicated approach to growing social capital that underpins thriving local businesses in a ‘virtuous cycle’ that is sustainable for the long term.”
Campaigning on behalf of the 6,000 co-operative and mutual enterprises across Britain, James Wright, Policy Officer at Co-operatives UK, said: “This report recognises the importance of ultra-micro economics and points the way for local politicians who want to see the communities they represent flourish.
“We hope that more will be done by our newly elected politicians to explore ways of putting ultra-micro approaches at the heart of economic strategy. We need to see more hands on experimentation at a local level, and this is something that the co-operative and mutual sector not only excels at, but leads the way.”
Notes to editors:
Co-operatives UK works to promote, develop and unite co-operative enterprises. It has a unique role as a trade association for co-operatives and its campaigns for co-operation, such as Co-operatives Fortnight, bring together all those with a passion and interest in co-operative action.
Co-operatives UK represents over 6,000 co-operative businesses and any organisation supportive of co-operation and mutuality can join. All members benefit from specialist services and the chance to network with other co-operatives.
The report was compiled with assistance from ultra-micro practitioners at the following organisations: Localise West Midlands, New Economics Foundation, Community Development Finance Association, Sustrans UK, Centre for Local Economic Strategies and Transition Network REconomy Project.
For further information, please contact:
Pamela Wood, Communications and Marketing Manager
Tel: 0161 214 1761
Mobile: 07415 004 002