If the city isn’t filled with shops, how about places to work? Part of what gives a place a buzz is people going about their business. And when people have jobs, they have money to spend.
Lancaster has a great digital sector, but we’re told that once a start up is successful, they often have to relocate because they can’t get the right type and size of premises. Start ups and growing businesses need some flexibility in their leases so they can respond to changes in demand. Should the council borrow money to build flexible office and business spaces to help incubate and support a digital sector and other businesses in Lancaster?
Lancaster City Council has recently adopted the Preston Model of local and democratic wealth building. One of the key features of the Preston model is support for worker cooperatives. The Preston Model is about keeping money circulating locally. Major spenders – like the council itself, the hospital, the university – are all encouraged to buy from local firms, which then boosts local jobs, and local people spend their money in the town, which boosts other businesses. Part of the model suggests that when the council wants to buy something and finds that there is no local supplier, they should try to incubate a local firm to supply this need. And the preferred model is a worker cooperative where the workers themselves have control of the business and are really invested in making a success of it. Do you think this would be good for Lancaster?