What is the issue?
The emerging ultra-micro economics sector, dedicated to helping neighbourhoods regenerate using existing resources, is being held back by incomprehension by traditional economic policy-makers. The underlying problem is this. Policy-makers regard strategy, and macro-economic strategy in particular, as the pinnacle of their achievement. They are nervous about local economics because it looks too small-scale and because it looks a little too like plumbing, and it is not explained in language that HM Treasury can immediately categorise and respond to. This is the hurdle that needs to be crossed before these resilient approaches can become mainstream – and before they can get the help they need to accelerate.
What will the project try to achieve?
New Weather will redefine the mission of, and evidence base for, ultra-local economics, so that policy-makers can understand it – especially those responsible for national economic policy. The project will launch a more equal dialogue with Treasury officials, and other policy-makers local and national – to tackle the evidence and theory gaps they have identified.
Who might be interested in this project?
Those who stand to gain the most will be people from the ultra-micro economics sector, in community banking, community energy, local regeneration and new kinds of money. The people the organisation hopes to influence include frontline politicians who need to understand that respectable economic solutions may lie in the ultra-local economics sector after all. It will include Whitehall civil servants, especially at the Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and also local government officials, especially in disadvantaged areas, need to be able to couch their ambitious local economic solutions in terms that can convince Whitehall officials.
Update February 2015:
The findings from the project have been presented in the form of a book. It is available to download by clicking on the image below:
The Foundation has also produced a summary of the findings and recommendations from the piece of work.