Major public sector organisations in Wolverhampton have joined forces to launch the ‘Wolverhampton Pound’ and pledged to keep more of their £834 million collective spending power within the city.
City of Wolverhampton Council, City of Wolverhampton College, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton Homes have signed an agreement committing to spending more money within the city and working with businesses, communities and the voluntary sector to retain local wealth, create new jobs and opportunities for residents.
The approach, known as community wealth building, has been successfully adopted in Preston, Lancashire, where the council credits the initiative with creating 1,600 new jobs, £74 million of investment into the city and £200 million into the regional economy.
The five core objectives of the Wolverhampton Pound scheme are:
- retaining and growing local wealth by prioritising local spending through procurement and commissioning approaches to strengthen and support local supply chains, encouraging the growth of new sectors and creating new local jobs
- embedding social value in the city – leveraging maximum value from investments through social value to strengthen local supply chains, supporting local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and building skills for the future
- leading the green transition – The city is at the forefront of the green transition with the development of the National Brownfield Institute and the National Centre for Sustainable Construction and the circular economy. There are growing green energy, retrofit and green construction clusters in Wolverhampton with more than 2,000 SMEs engaged in these industries
- supporting and growing the health and wellbeing economy – the health and residential care sector provides thousands of local jobs. We will support development of a robust skills pipeline for the city’s health and wellbeing sectors, strengthen health and care business models and grow local SMEs
- growing and promoting Wolverhampton as a cultural and creative city – Generating a vibrant city that is built on the city’s cultural strengths, the partners will explore the use of cultural and creative improvement districts to support the growth of the arts, cultural and creative industries
Council leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield said:
“The city’s public sector has massive spending power and through the Wolverhampton Pound, we will prioritise local firms and organisations when it comes to spending it.
“Together, we can really benefit our local economy and our communities by harnessing the power of the Wolverhampton Pound to deliver projects which benefit our people rather than companies based miles away.
“This approach really works, up in Preston millions has been invested into the city and they have moved out of the 20 most deprived places in the UK.”
Professor Nazira Karodia, pro vice-chancellor regional engagement at the University of Wolverhampton, said:
“We are delighted to be a partner in this exciting initiative which will provide valuable opportunities for our students, graduates, staff and the wider community.
“The Wolverhampton Pound will create a cultural and creative city - and creative industries lie at the centre of our plans to reimagine and transform our city centre.”
Shaun Aldis, Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Homes said:
"I am delighted that Wolverhampton Homes is able to be part of this fantastic initiative. As a major employer within the city, we see it as our duty to give back to the communities we serve.
"With a property portfolio of around 22,000 homes and over 700 staff, we invest millions in projects and programmes every year to maintain and uplift neighbourhoods across Wolverhampton.
"By utilising this spending power closer to home, we hope to not only boost local business and create job opportunities, but also to reduce our carbon footprint as we strive towards a greener city."