Major employers told ‘buy locally to boost the Birmingham economy’
Birmingham’s largest employers are being urged to boost the city economy by adopting a ‘buy on your own doorstep’ policy.
A new city council-led project aims to encourage so-called ‘anchor institutions’ – hospitals, universities and housing providers – to recruit employees and buy the goods and services they need locally wherever possible.
It is estimated that millions of pounds a year leaks out of the Birmingham economy because big firms and institutions often buy in staff and goods from outside of the city.
The council already targets its own £1 billion-a-year procurement on Birmingham and the West Midlands. Now it is joining forces with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and Barrow Cadbury Trust to look at how anchor institutions can use their spending power to increase economic opportunities for all of Birmingham’s communities, businesses and citizens.
Using an approach which is common in many North American cities and which CLES has piloted in Preston, the new partnership aims to identify changes in behaviour around procurement and other processes that will benefit local businesses, people and communities.
The project will analyse:
- Which goods and services are locally purchased.
- Which local people are employed and from which areas.
- How land and property has the potential to create wealth which communities truly benefit from.
Birmingham city council leader Cllr John Clancy said:
Our anchor institutions are already hugely important but they can play an even greater role in economic growth and prosperity. Birmingham contains significant existing wealth which needs to be harnessed more effectively for the benefit of our economy and people.
Neil McInroy, chief executive of CLES, said:
We know that this programme of work can bring real wealth and income benefits to communities and citizens. We are absolutely thrilled to be working in Birmingham to deliver better social outcomes and local wealth creation through the collective progressive action of significant city anchors.
We have a lot of work to do. But with the help of anchors, we can deliver at a scale not realised in the UK before.
Sara Llewellin, chief executive of Barrow Cadbury Trust said:
The Trust has been pleased to see debate and practice on local economies grow in Birmingham in recent years. This anchor institution work will build on a movement which is already strong within the city and help to explore how resources already flowing through the city can be better utilised for the good of all citizens.
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