At a time of economic change, it’s really important to work together to help the UK to go forward. Around the UK, Barclays is looking to identify the characteristics of – and barriers to – thriving local economies. We believe that economic success comes from the hard work of people and businesses in local communities around the UK. Partnering with them and others, we will learn about different types of economy and commit to action on the ground – beyond our day-to-day products and services – to help those economies thrive.

Our Thriving Local Economies initiative

The UK is a diverse country with thousands of local communities in cities, towns and villages. Each community is also a ‘local economy’ with its own strengths and opportunities as well as challenges.

Through our ‘Thriving Local Economies’ initiative, Barclays wants to help identify the drivers of, and barriers to, local economic success. We have partnered with Demos Projects to find the characteristics of what makes a thriving local economy. You can see their report ‘Thriving Local Economies: A Review of What is Known’ here which analyses existing data and research about geographic economic disparity in the UK as well as giving an overview of the key pillars for achieving local economic growth.

It is extremely difficult to drive local economic success from ‘the centre’; there is no lever that national governments, or central banks can pull to drive local economic growth. We believe that we need to look at this ‘from the local up’.

Our Thriving Local Economies initiative will focus on four pilot areas in geographically different parts of the country and representing different types of place. One will be in a metropolitan area; one in a smaller town; one in a rural area and one in a coastal community.

In each pilot area we will undertake local research to better understand the economy on the ground. We will engage with the local authority, local MPs as well as business and community groups and local businesses to get their views and insight into key local opportunities and challenges.

Working with these partners, we will develop insight into the key opportunities and challenges which exist in different areas.

These will inform specific actions which Barclays will take in each pilot area (above and beyond the products and services we provide to people, families and businesses as a bank). We will ensure that these actions are independently measured, over three years, so that we can assess the impact of our interventions over time. We will share this information locally and with national decision-makers and stakeholders. We will be transparent around where our actions have had some success and, equally, where our intervention may not have had the desired impact – so that we help inform the debate about how to deliver the best economic model for our country and to help build a national framework of insight. Some of the things that we do will succeed; and some will fail. We believe it will be every bit as valuable to learn from what hasn’t worked as what has.

If you would like further information about the initiative, please email: thrivinglocaleconomies@barclays.com