Peace Foundation Chief Executive Nick Taylor is an external member of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for ‘Left behind Communities.’
In this blog Nick sets out the need for a community wealth fund and asking for you to support a cross-party call upon the Prime Minister to establish a fund for long-term investment.
Our communities need investment in their social fabric as well as hard infrastructure.
A Community Wealth Fund would provide ‘left behind’ communities the opportunity to improve where they live.
A letter has been signed by 41 MPs and peers from across the political divide and calls on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to ensure that 225 ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods in England do not miss out on benefiting from the government’s mission to level up the country.
The cross-party group is asking the government to commit funds from the next wave of dormant assets, to rebuild the social fabric of neighbourhoods which have seen the loss of vital community infrastructure in recent decades, and to give local people control over funding.
The intervention follows the Chancellor’s announcement of a £4 billion Levelling Up Fund in the Autumn Spending Review. Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods are calling on the Government to go further by implementing a series of specific proposals put forward by the Conservative MP, Danny Kruger, in his recent report ‘Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant’.
Among the recommendations to receive the backing of MPs is a plan to use £2 billion of dormant assets earmarked for local projects to create a new Community Wealth Fund targeted specifically at ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods. It forms the centre piece of a new social contract in which local people are properly supported and empowered to play an active role in reinvigorating their own communities.
The letter cites recent research showing people living in these neighbourhoods – deprived communities also lacking places to meet, active local civic organisations and poor connectivity – experience significantly worse outcomes across education, health and employment than other equally deprived places, and England as a whole. Often located on the periphery of towns and cities, these areas have missed out on past funding and regeneration, and many are facing economic hardship exacerbated by the pandemic.
The 41 signatories make the case for placing this new wave of dormant assets in an independent endowment, tasked with investing over the long term in rebuilding the foundations of local civic life in ‘left behind’ areas through:
- Investment at a neighbourhood level
- Long-term, patient funding provided over a ten–to–fifteen–year period
- Community-led decision making to set local priorities
- Appropriate support provided to build community confidence, capacity and skills
This proposal is also backed by the Community Wealth Fund Alliance, a group of over 340 civil society, public and private sector organisations including the Salvation Army, NCVO, YMCA and 21 local authorities.
The Peace Foundation work in communities is showing urgent action is required and we are adding our support to this call.
You can find out more about our work by clicking here – Community Action for Peace
If you are working at community level, for example a local authority or police and crime commissioner, you can find out more about how we enter communities with our taking the temperature approach.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org