Imaginative restructuring of renewal strategies in a borough council breathes new life into a local economy

Working with Enfield Borough Council in London, the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) developed an economic renewal strategy to rebuild local supply chains. The initiative created jobs and plans to re-invest pension funds into social housing.

CRESC researchers worked closely with councillors and officers at Enfield Borough Council in London to develop a menu of radical new economic regeneration policies. Our research shifted focus away from improving training and infrastructure and towards the re-building of local supply chains - where local businesses provide goods and services to the council and larger commercial enterprises such as supermarkets and utility companies. We also recommended the investment of pension funds in social housing.

Key benefits:

  • Council engagement with local utility companies leading to British Gas signing contracts totalling more than £10 million of green initiatives in the Borough;
  • Plans for British Gas to hire 100 Enfield school leavers and for the company to train job seekers through local further education colleges
  • Inclusion of specialised local construction companies in British Gas’ supply chain
  • Opening of an insulation manufacturing operation in the area, creating 50 manufacturing jobs and a further 250 posts for installation professionals
  • Agreement of a five-year schedule of works with Thames Water to help the Council support the involvement of local contractors and train labour.
  • Plans for construction of a 50 acre commercial glasshouse (using local labour) to use waste heat from an incinerator
  • Plans for investing some of the Council’s pension fund into social housing stock in an adjacent borough with reciprocal investment in Enfield.

Our research

CRESC researchers have worked on the problem of growing inequalities within and between regions in the UK and what is to be done for laggard regions. The research aims to tackle local economic problems that arise from dwindling purchasing power, investable funds and jobs, as flows of goods and money disadvantage certain localities.

CRESC takes a unique position; its research focuses on how local authorities in disadvantaged localities using existing powers can address economic imbalances.

Key findings:

  • Ex industrial areas have falling output (GVA) per capita because they have not created private sector jobs and fiscal cuts are stripping out the publicly funded jobs and benefits
  • Standard regional policies to support training and infrastructure are completely inadequate to this kind of problem.
  • Conventional industrial policy focused on high tech, new industries will largely benefit already advantaged areas (e.g. Thames Valley, M11 corridor)
  • A globalised, ‘financialised’ economy has created long chains which are beyond political control
  • The specific analyses for Enfield were carried out against this contextual backdrop and within an evidence-based framework that the Council was the key actor which could deliver change through engagement with business and procurement policy.