Barclays is joining forces with local authorities, academics, and business groups to boost local economic growth, under a major five-year programme.
The Building Thriving Local Economies initiative has been launched by Ashok Vaswani, Barclays UK CEO, in order to help ensure that every part of the country can fulfil its potential and inform what companies like Barclays can do to help economies to thrive.
Four pilot areas will be created in geographically different parts of the country. One will represent a metropolitan borough, one a rural community, one a coastal area and the fourth a smaller town.
In each pilot area Barclays will undertake research and use data to better understand the local economy’s strengths and challenges.
The bank will share findings with the local authority, school leaders, business groups and others to build insight and shape actions that they will commit to take in the community – in addition to the everyday products and services they offer – to help build a more thriving economy.
Bury, in Greater Manchester, has been chosen as the first local economy pilot for the programme.
Demos Projects and Barclays will be working closely with Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, local schools and colleges, local businesses and business groups.
As a first step Barclays has committed to help build confidence and raise aspirations of school children in Bury by providing a bespoke version of the bank’s LifeSkills programme, which has already helped over 6.7 million young people in the UK, tailored to the local community.
Launching the programme at Castlebrook High School in Bury today, Ashok Vaswani, said:
“At a time of economic uncertainty, we need to ensure that every part of the UK can thrive in order that our whole country can prosper.
“We see pockets of high growth in our major cities but more needs to be done to support towns like Bury to become stronger engines of local and national prosperity.
“There is no single lever that national governments or central banks can pull to drive economic growth.
“I truly believe that our future economic success will be driven by people in places like Bury.
“We need to look at how we build a thriving economy ‘from the local up’ not from the national down.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “I can’t wait to see how the work in Bury progresses. I am pleased by the commitment that Barclays is showing to Bury with their Thriving Local Economies initiative.
“A three-year partnership with businesses, schools and the Local Authority will, I hope, see the community continue to thrive. I wish all concerned the best.”
Rishi Shori, Leader of Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “Bury is open for business, and ensuring that our economy flourishes is among the most important priorities for this council. Bury has many strengths, not least as an attractive place to live.
“We need to build on this, working with partners in education, training and commerce to make our borough a home to highly skilled, well-paid work and innovative, thriving businesses.”
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