CLES reports on New Municipalism in London
CLES last month released a new publication, New Municipalism in London, which highlights ‘the actions of three London Boroughs who are seeking to challenge traditional local economic development and return power to their citizens’.
According to CLES, New Municipalism has three core principles. First, ‘redistribution of power’, with the aim to ‘open up formal institutions and processes to citizens in order to facilitate deeper democratic involvement’. Also at its core is the ‘local state using its own municipal power’, recognising that unique public goods and services, such as utilities and transport, should not be outsourced to the market, but fairly priced and accessible to all citizens. Finally, ‘a bold rethinking of local economic development’, with the emphasis on building an inclusive economy that is ‘plural, fair and democratic’, as previously set out by Neil McInroy and David Burch.
London is the fifth wealthiest city in the world by GDP, yet with 27 per cent of its citizens living in poverty. The publication outlines how ‘the London Boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Camden are responding to this “age of inequality”, by taking inspiration from the international new municipalist movement’, with particular reference to citizens’ movements in Barcelona and Jackson, USA.
The report goes on to look at the work each borough is doing, written by the person spearheading it. Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, says:
‘By rejecting market orthodoxies and pursuing an interventionist approach, we have demonstrated that municipal services and programmes can make a real difference to the lives of working people, and are central to re-building an economy with social justice at its core.’
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, recognises that although ‘Hackney is changing … too many of our residents feel left behind’. Their new municipalism is about ‘bridging the gap between our expanding local economy and residents’. Cllr Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, feels that that this marks the ‘return to the proud traditions of civic radicalism for which Camden is famous … Camden is rising to the challenge, harnessing our resources to share power and create social value, delivering housing, jobs, and opportunities for our citizens.’
Read the full report here.