Recently Sinn Féin launched its ambitious proposals around Community Wealth Building – a powerful alternative model to economic development. CWB seeks to leverage existing local and regional resources to provide workers, families and communities with greater control over their own economic development. Sinn Féin is proposing that the model is now adopted and pursued by Councils in Ireland.
Speaking following the official launch, Cllr Derren Ó Brádaigh said: “This is something that interests me greatly. I have taken the time recently to read further about this exciting economic model – it has been tried and tested with some very real and interesting success in Preston, England, North Ayrshire in Scotland and in Cleveland in the United States. The reality is that the current economic model in Ireland is not meeting the needs of workers, their families and our communities across Ireland. We need to be bold in setting out a new approach toward an economy where we have balanced development and wealth is retained in our towns and counties rather than being extracted through unhealthy profit driven competition in a race to the bottom.
“Community Wealth Building has the potential to deliver such fundamental change as to how we view wealth and how we build a fairer society. There are five key pillars to our proposal: (1) Make financial power work for people and local towns by retaining as much of that wealth as we can through local supply chains and targeted procurement contracts. (2) Work with key anchor institutions (commercial, public and semi-state) to create local employment and set a standard for high quality, sustainable and living wage paid jobs (3) Utilise all land and assets in our communities to generate wealth and resources for the people who live there. (4) Develop an inclusive economy with social forms of ownership like co-operatives. (5) Reduce our carbon footprint by establishing shorter supply chains and greater local employment.
“This is about working in partnership with communities and businesses to build a more resilient economy that works for local people, which supports fair work, and uses land in the region for the benefit of the people that live there.
“Our proposal is about developing indigenous assets in such a way that wealth is added to our communities, not extracted. I believe that this economic model provides an alternative to neoliberalism and has the potential to move toward quality sustainable employment, to drive down poverty, prevent environmental destruction and move toward a more egalitarian society. I plan to bring a motion forward to the council in the period ahead to have this model adopted by the members and incorporated as a part of local economic and county development plans.”