brown and white concrete building under white clouds during daytime
Photo by Jamie Edwards on Unsplash

I was delighted to introduce the council’s 5 year Community Wealth Building Strategy at West Lancashire Borough Council’s full council meeting last week.

It will deliver significant local economic, social and environmental benefits to our Borough.

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 – known as community wealth building. It will keep more of our money locally rather than in the hands of distant corporate shareholders, and become part of our culture here in West Lancashire.

A review by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) identified that significant progress has already been made by our 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
  • To drive a just, low carbon transition by retrofitting the built environment
  • To build a community-based, decentralised energy system

This new strategy represents an incredibly important opportunity for our 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 our 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, this Labour and Co-operative Council are committed to being a catalyst for this exciting step-change.