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Preston City Council wins more praise for its economic approach

Posted on - 27th March, 2016 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston Council
Councillor Matthew Brown says they are working to keep firms spending inside Preston

Councillor Matthew Brown says they are working to keep firms spending inside Preston

An alternative philosophy for running the local economy by Preston City Council has been featured in a new book.

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Prosperity Parade by David Boyle looks at eight economic models around the UK which aim to increase wealth and keep it within its locality.

A chapter in the book looks at work the city council has been doing in its Community Wealth Building policy.

Councillor Matthew Brown, who is cabinet member for social justice, inclusion and policy, said the council was pleased to be highlighted for its work.

He said: “It’s important that the alternative economic models that are thriving around the country are recognised in this way because since the economic crash in 2008, the government have spent billions of pounds of taxpayers money bailing out the financial institutions that failed us.

“The eight stories in this book are great examples of how local communities, towns and cities can protect themselves from another global crash by localising wealth. Any model, like Preston’s Community Wealth Building, that traps money in the local economy, rather than it leaking out of the area into the pockets of international shareholders, is worth pursuing.

“We have already increased spending by local public, and quasi-public bodies, in the local economy dramatically and we are ready to take the next step of creating local jobs directly from community wealth.”

Related: Council tax to rise further two per cent in Preston

The city council itself is facing a financial meltdown with an emergency budget due to be debated in the Autumn after central government cutbacks were deeper than original feared.

Councillor Martyn Rawlinson, the man responsible for balancing the Town Hall books, spoke at the launch of the book.

He said: “It’s clear we need a more mixed economy including worker co-ops, that are not reliant on inward investment. While alternative economic models are growing, there is little encouragement from Westminster or the mainstream financial system. Fortunately, our local ‘Anchor Institutions’ like Lancashire County Council, UCLan and Community Gateway Association among others, can see the benefits and are engaging in our project.”

Earlier this year the city council received praise from shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP who said he felt Preston was taking a strong approach to its local financial plans.

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