25th September 2018

Barclays launches initiative to build thriving local economies

Barclays is joining forces with local authorities, academics, schools and business groups to boost local economic growth, under a major five-year programme. The ‘Building Thriving Local Economies’ initiative has been launched by Ashok Vaswani, Barclays UK CEO, in order to help ensure that every part of the country can fulfil its potential and inform what companies like Barclays can do to help economies to thrive.

Four pilot areas will be created in geographically different parts of the country. One will represent a metropolitan borough, one a rural community, one a coastal area and the fourth a smaller town. Bury, in Greater Manchester, has been chosen as the first local economy pilot for the programme.

In each pilot area Barclays will undertake research and use data to understand the local economy’s strengths and challenges better. The bank will share findings with the local authority, school leaders, business groups and others to build insight and shape actions that they will commit to take in the community to help build a more thriving economy.

As a first step Barclays has committed to help build confidence and raise aspirations of school children in Bury by providing a bespoke version of the banks’ LifeSkills programme, which has already helped over 6.7 million young people in the UK, tailored to the local community.

Launching the programme, Mr Vaswani, said: “At a time of economic uncertainty, we need to ensure that every part of the UK can thrive in order that our whole country can prosper. We see pockets of high growth in our major cities but more needs to be done to support towns like Bury to become stronger engines of local and national prosperity.

“There is no single lever that national governments or central banks can pull to drive economic growth. I truly believe that our future economic success will be driven by people in places like Bury. We need to look at how we build a thriving economy ‘from the local up’ not from the national down.”