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Preston's success lies in a strategy the council has been pursuing for nearly a decade known as community wealth-building. In the past, the council relied on global developers and the promise of major retail investment to deliver economic opportunities. In 2011, when a major shopping centre development that would have brought £700m investment to the area failed to materialise, we decided to take matters into our own hands and pursue a model that would bring resilience to our local economy, ensure wealth remained within the area and give people a say over their economic destines.

A central part of our approach is encouraging big institutions such as hospitals and universities to join this movement for economic and social progress. These "anchor institutions" are unlike conventional businesses: they're publicly owned, won't get up and leave, spend billions annually and employ thousands of people in the area. In Preston, the council has encouraged them to pay the real living wage and to buy much more from local businesses rather than remote corporate giants. We've also ensured the council and public pension fund invests locally, and we've used the planning system to support local employment in large commercial developments.

by Oui on Tue May 18th, 2021 at 04:29:12 PM EST

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