Tomorrow the Chancellor will travel from Number 11 Downing Street to Parliament to deliver the Autumn Spending Review. Whilst no one is expecting this to include a big “giveaway” budget for the community business with no anticipated announcements of new funding programmes, Plunkett in its pre-Spending Review submission to Treasury took the opportunity to champion the needs of rural areas and asked for improvements to current funding programmes for the benefit community-owned business projects UK-wide.
Plunkett Foundation is committed to growing the community business sector UK-wide, on the basis that community-owned, democratically run enterprises can play an important role in supporting the Government’s stated ambition to “Level Up” the country. Our submission to the Spending Review contributes to our aim of enabling rural areas to benefit from the Levelling Up agenda and we are keen to support Government in identifying, assessing and evidencing those areas most in need of funding, investment and receiving support to achieve this.
Our submission to this year’s Spending Review primarily focused on recommendations to improve existing legislation and existing funding commitments supported by the Government. We asked for only one further dedicated programme of work, either as a separate activity or through ring-fencing existing resource to support rural areas that are at risk of being left behind in the Levelling Up agenda.
Our submission can be summarised as focusses on the following 3 aims and supporting policy recommendations:
Increasing the number of community-owned businesses UK-wide:
- Ensure that there is resourced infrastructure support available for the Community Ownership Fund
- Create a Community Right to Buy in all four UK nations, to afford equal protection of community assets in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Enable Parish and Town Councils to on-lend Public Works Loans Board finance to community business projects
- Continue to incentivise and support the use of Community Shares in relation to community-ownership projects
- Support Local Authorities to utilise Compulsory Purchase powers through creating a dedicated insurance scheme
Enabling Community Power in the delivery of Government funding: programmes
- Support for the Communities in Charge campaign, led by our partners Locality
- Rural proofing the delivery of all Government administered funds
Ring-fencing funding for rural communities:
- Create a dedicated Rural Renaissance Programme
A full copy of our submission can found here and Plunkett will be sharing our thoughts on the contents of tomorrow’s Spending Review in due course.
If you wish to discuss the content of the submission, or to find out more about Plunkett’s ongoing advocacy activity please contact Chris Cowcher, Head of Policy via firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @ChrisCowcher.