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Members agree Highland Council's new Community Wealth Building Strategy

15th March 2024

Members at today's (14 March 2024) meeting of The Highland Council agreed the local authority's new draft Community Wealth Building Strategy.

They were also asked to note that a period of public engagement on the draft will now begin, with a final strategy returning to full Council for consideration in September.

Community Wealth Building provides an alternative approach to economic development and a practical response that aims to keep wealth within a local area.

It is often described as a people centred approach to economic development and aims to ensure every area and community can participate in, and benefit from, economic activity.

Chair of Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans, said: "The Council administration’s ‘Our Future Highland’ programme places people at its very heart, and through community wealth building we can bring people together to promote wellbeing, reduce inequalities, and deliver improved outcomes for people in Highland.

"Our approach will allow us to be ambitious in establishing the foundations of a brighter and more sustainable future for our communities, particularly our younger generation."

Officers have reviewed the approaches taken elsewhere in the country to consider best practice and have been supported in considering what work is already underway in Highland and the opportunities to progress Community Wealth Building, through the Centre for Local Economic Strategies.

The draft strategy sets out a 3-year vision for taking forward and embedding the Council’s approach to Community Wealth Building. The proposed vision for the strategy is that the Council will: Retain greater wealth and maximise spending within and for the communities of the Highlands.

It is proposed this is delivered through five key objectives that align with the five pillars of community wealth building.

These are:

Objective 1: Spending - using public spend to deliver community benefit, fair work and build local supply chains.

Objective 2: Fair Employment - ensuring the workforce are in well paid jobs that benefit from an effective voice, security, and flexibility.

Objective 3: Land and Property – ensuring that communities maximise benefit and generate wealth from local land and property.

Objective 4: Financial Power – ensuring that the flows of wealth generated within the local economy works for the wellbeing of communities and businesses.

Objective 5: Inclusive Ownership – stimulating the development and growth of locally owned enterprises that generate community wealth.

Under each objective, the draft strategy outlines areas of work that already support Community Wealth Building across Highland and proposed areas for development.

Following consideration of the draft strategy, a 12-week period of public consultation will take place and run from April until June 2024. The consultation will seek views on the draft strategy, including proposed vision and areas for development.

Full details of the draft strategy can be seen under Item 14 of today’s report to Council at Appendix 1.


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