How could local banks support local and regional economic growth? Could local banks tackle the stark geographical imbalances in Britain’s economic performance? What role could local banks play to better support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?
These were just some of the key questions discussed at a joint roundtable policy workshop held by SPERI and leading UK think-tank Demos. Participants included policy experts from Demos and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES); academics from SPERI, the University of Salford, and Sheffield Hallam University, and policymakers from Sheffield City Region LEP and Sheffield City Council.
Demos’ report, Community Chest (which can be read here), considers the potential role that local and regional banking could play in the UK economy and explores how regional banks could function on a ‘dual bottom line’ – promoting local economies, while also turning a profit.
Craig Berry, Deputy Director of SPERI, spoke at the event about his research on the nature and future of economic development within the North of England, and how local and regional banks could particularly support SMEs based outside London and the South East. Craig also outlined the need for a national industrial policy in the UK to support the establishment of an effective banking model at the local level.
A forthcoming collaborative paper between SPERI and CLES ‘The Real Deal: Pushing the Parameters of Devolution’ (to be published later this month) will discuss devolution and localising the banking sector in more detail.
The event was supported by the Friends Provident Foundation and facilitated by the Faculty of Social Science’s SSPIKE team.