A million local economies

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Local economies become increasingly self-sufficient and autonomous, drawing demand away from national and international markets. Alternative currency/time bank hybrids become the primary means of exchange within local communities. More people have a stake in local collaborative economy initiatives, thanks to a rise in community-owned assets and increased local employment. Unemployment falls and fewer needs go unmet within local communities.

Local councils connect with collaborative platforms to sweat their own assets (e.g. office space, car fleets). These schemes supplement local budgets and unlock new resources and non-financial value for communities. With reduced budgets and rising demand, local governments also begin to incorporate and experiment with collaborative models of service provision.

Local residents become directly involved in informing local priorities and budgets through crowdsourcing. Local councils and residents also realise more initiatives and projects through crowdfunding schemes. People can opt to pay tax by contributing time, goods, skills and knowledge that meet local demands.

The Numbers

  • The economic value of the voluntary activity that members of the public undertake in support of wider public service objectives is around £34 billion annually. Around £22 billion of this consists of formal volunteering, namely giving unpaid help through existing groups, clubs or organisations at least once a month. A further £10 billion consists of informal volunteering at least once a month. The remaining £2 billion comes from community action - giving unpaid help to support a community event, campaign or project run by neighbours
  • Around a fifth of local authority budgets in England are currently spent on social care at a cost of £22 billion of which around two-thirds is on adult social care
  • Similarly, the cost to local authorities of public health measures in England is nearly £3 billion, a budget line which might also become amenable to community action