Monday, January 21, 2019

Shop local

How to revive ailing towns that are suffering the effects of austerity disproportionately? As Anoosh Chakelian reports for the New Statesman, perhaps the answer is the so-called "Preston Model", referring to the strategies that have successfully reinvigorated the Lancashire town.

At the heart of the model is the concept of "community wealth building", according to which the objective is to ensure that as much local money as possible is spent locally. This has made Preston less reliant on unpredictable external investment from national and multinational companies that have no real interest in the town itself, while at the same time giving local businesses a boost - at no extra cost to the public purse.

Now other places are looking to implement their own version of the strategy, such as Hartlepool, where it's being hailed as a form of "pragmatic socialism". It'll be interesting to see if the model takes off here - it certainly seems to make obvious economic sense, and is also finding favour in the US, where the resuscitation of Rust Belt towns is also very much focused on the local.

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