York’s Councillors will debate how more wealth can be retained within the city when the full Council meets on Thursday this week.
Community wealth building seeks to use the purchasing power of larger organisations to support local businesses by procuring goods and services within a given area.
Drawing on examples of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s New Economics events, Community Wealth building supports small and medium sized local businesses to build a sustainable local economy that challenges austerity and the traditional way of commissioning services.
The model is based on identifying what are known as ‘anchor’ institutions, and bringing them together with a view to spending more of their resources locally.
Commonly referred to as the ‘Preston model’ (after the local authority that first championed the new approach), the idea simply states that ‘anchor institutions’ should try to spend locally wherever possible.
Labour’s Councillor Danny Myers (pictured above right) will propose the motion. He explains:
“The community wealth building model is one that really helps towns and cities to retain more of their wealth locally. Research shows that for every £1 spent by a small or medium sized organisation, 63p is re-spent locally. This figure drops to 40p for a multinational company.
“What we are looking for through our motion is to make a start and have some discussions with large organisations in the city about their procurement policies and what informs those policies. We’d like to think that companies like Nestle and Aviva, for example, would be supportive of measures that support York and the smaller businesses here that are the lifeblood of the local economy.
“Every spending decision made by the big companies, universities and public sector bodies in York has a sizeable knock on effect. We can create a more resilient local economy that rejects austerity by adopting this straight forward approach; it is both radical and responsible. In the most unequal city in the country outside of the South East, it is important that the local Council takes a leading role in building a city that doesn’t leave anyone behind.
“We also want to see some work carried out which identifies exactly where money is being spent so we understand the potential of community wealth building in York”.
York’s full council meeting takes place this Thursday at 6.30pm at the Citadel, Gillygate, where Labour will also be proposing a motion on inclusive growth and the gender pay gap in York.