On 1 September 2020, the Scottish Government published their Programme for Government (PfG), setting out the actions it will take in the coming year and beyond.
To help Scotland’s post Covid-19 recovery, PfG focuses on creating new jobs, good jobs and green jobs, promoting lifelong health and wellbeing and promoting equality and helping young people fulfil their potential.
The theme of “locality” runs through PfG, with new commitments around local supply chain development, 20 minute neighbourhoods and Community Wealth Building (CWB). It recognises that no one model will fit every part of Scotland and it is vital that communities, public services and businesses are involved in designing and building their local economic and community wealth building solutions.
Learning from work already underway in places like Ayrshire, the Scottish Government is working with 5 additional areas – Clackmannanshire, South of Scotland, Glasgow City Region, Western Isles and Tay Cities – to grow community wealth building here. In collaboration with local partners, we will produce CWB action plans for each area that set out practical actions to prioritise for more inclusive economic impact in the context of recovery and renewal. The first two plans are published with the final three to be published shortly.
Building strength and empowerment in local economies and communities is key to our collective recovery and has the potential to bring tangible local benefits quickly. Taking a CWB approach ensures that local people and businesses have a genuine stake in producing, owning and enjoying the wealth they create, and moves us closer to the more just, equitable and sustainable society we want to see in a post Covid-19 Scotland.
Clackmannanshire have completed their Action Planning process. With support from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), the Council developed a range of short and longer term actions to implement CWB. Short term actions include ways to change procurement practice and service delivery for maximum community benefit, and the development of a “good employment” charter. The Action Plan was published in December 2020.
Glasgow City Region
Glasgow City Region is committed to a region wide Action Plan with a focus on procurement in construction, and bringing vacant and derelict land sites into productive use for urban agriculture, community food growing and green spaces. Two action plans have been developed, one on procurement, and the other focusing on vacant and derelict land. They are complementary to existing work on sustainable procurement, vacant and derelict land and the Clyde Mission.
Tay City Region
Fife Council will pioneer work on CWB for the Tay City Region, sharing lessons with other councils within the region. The Action Plan has been published and Fife Council are pressing ahead with implementing their CWB Actions.
South of Scotland
South of Scotland Enterprise are keen to explore how to use CWB to stimulate inclusive growth in the region. This was discussed at the Convention of the South of Scotland and work is progressing to finalise an Action Plan at the end of June 2021. It is expected to be focused on the role of Registered Social Landlords as anchor institutions.
The Western Isles are well known as an exemplar in community land ownership and community energy, with all the benefits to communities and the local economy that these bring. Work with CNES and CLES is nearing completion to finalise an Action Plan which will be published shortly.