Community Wealth Building

What is Community Wealth Building (CWB)?

CWB is an alternative approach to traditional economic development, which seeks to develop resilient, inclusive local economies with more local employment and a larger and more diverse business base.

CWB reorganises local economies to be fairer and aims to reduce wealth flowing out of our communities, towns and cities by helping local investments and assets to generate more and better jobs for local residents and businesses.

Why is the council taking this approach?

There is growing interest in CWB across the UK and especially in Scotland, where it has been endorsed by the Scottish Government as an important plank of how Scotland can deliver on its wellbeing economy aspirations. 

CWB takes a place-based approach to economic development where anchor institutions which are deeply rooted within their localities do all they can to “spend local”.  Anchor institutions like the council spend millions annually on goods and services but much of the spend is not with local businesses - meaning the benefits leak out of the local economy. A key aim of CWB is to influence spend towards local businesses and social enterprises to help grow and sustain local economies and promote positive social outcomes. 

What is the council doing about it?

The council has developed a Community Wealth Building Strategy which sets out high-level aspirations to be achieved over the next three to five years.

The strategy is structured around the “5 pillars” of CWB:

  • Spending - Utilise public sector procurement and commissioning to develop dense local supply chains of businesses likely to support good employment and retain work locally.
  • Workforce - Exercise fair employment practices and work to develop a more just labour market to improve the prospects and wellbeing of local people.
  • Land and property - Deepen the function and ownership of local assets held by anchor institutions, so that financial and social gain is harnessed by citizens.
  • Finance - Increase flows of investment within local economies by harnessing and recirculating the wealth that exists, as opposed to attracting capital.
  • Building the generative economy - Develop and grow small, locally owned enterprises which are more financially generative for the local economy - locking wealth into place.

The council has set up a Community Wealth Building commission to oversee the delivery of the CWB strategy.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on CWB see the following websites:

CLES the national organisation for local communities

Scottish Government website (gov.scot)

Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS)

Community Wealth Building

Email: Community Wealth Building