Growing interest in a fairer and greener economy
In the months preceding the Scottish election, there has been increasing receptiveness to sustainable economic models. Speaking at the Reset and Rebuild roundtable organised by CDS earlier this year, Dr. Katherine Trebeck, Advocacy and Influencing Lead of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, said:
“Scotland really is at the cusp of leading this new wave; the challenge is that we need to do a lot more to make inclusive business models the mainstream. The levers we need to get there range from advice, training, planning and procurement – all of this matters when it comes to creating an economy designed for people and planet.”
What the parties are promising
Plunkett is pleased to see commitments along these lines from all the parties in the run-up to the Scottish election. Across the political spectrum, there is acknowledgement of the benefits of maintaining and growing the community ownership and cooperative sector, and working towards a social economy.
In particular, we are glad to see proposals for increasing the Scottish Land Fund by the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, and we would like to see more emphasis placed on support for communities before, during and after the buy-out process. We also welcome Labour’s commitment to supporting Co-ops UK’s ask for booster funding for community shares, which would deliver match investments raised through community share offers. This would undoubtedly make community ownership more accessible for less affluent communities. In this vein we also support the proposals by the SNP and the Green Party to review the effectiveness of the Community Right to Buy, particularly with reference to uptake in deprived areas.
Looking to the future of the sector in Scotland, we support the Scottish Land Commission’s ambition to achieve a shift towards a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to community ownership. With a growing sector, we can now set our sights on achieving “a culture shift so that community ownership becomes a routine option for communities, so that it is a planned and proactive approach to community development, rather than reactive, driven by specific problems or land coming onto the market.”
If you are an existing community business in Scotland, or a developing group we’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts about the election and feed in your comments, hopes or concerns via our Information Hub Manager, Georgina Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org.