Community Wealth Building More Important than Ever – The Community Wealth Building Report

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey with members of the panel

Launching the Expert Advisory Panel’s independent report, with 26 recommendations to deliver sustainable change, Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey commented that community wealth building is more important than ever.

The report outlines the potential for improved social and economic outcomes by making policy, legislative and practical changes in a number of areas including social value, support for co-operatives and social enterprise, social finance such as community shares, and real living wage.

In Co-operative Alternatives, we anticipate some implementation actions soon by the reconfirmed appointed Advisory Panel. Tiziana O’Hara attended the launch event and is now pondering “Would this new framework really deliver government policies and legislative environment more supportive to co-operative development and community-led initiatives in housing, energy, finance and food?” To date, co-operatives and community benefit societies have been developed thanks to the work and dedication of NI members often navigating complex laws and unfriendly policies. However, by doing so, the emerging co-ops also created change and brought good alternatives in the region. Unfortunately, with little recognition even in this latest report. It is now time to ask some questions; “Will CWB be another layer of ‘obfuscating government talk’, as it was described at a recent event I attended, or a new way to facilitate the circulation of public resources and wealth with the purpose to add value to what has been done already in its absence?” It would be a real pity if CWB would not amplify and support the work already done on the ground, embrace a more democratic standing, allow more local voices to be heard and choose instead a restrictive, fixed and dogmatic approach just because it claims it works somewhere else.

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