A Sustainable Economy

“Our vision for Cornwall is having a strong sustainable economy offering secure work and a Living Wage.”

Below you will find:

• Examples of existing work in Cornwall addressing the theme.
• Examples of existing work outside of Cornwall addressing the theme.
• Proposals of how work in this thematic area might be developed and expanded.

Existing Works in Cornwall

Kernow Credit Union

Kernow Credit Union is a savings and loans co-operative for those living or working in Cornwall.
Credit Unions probably aren’t the first place you think of when you’re looking for a new savings account or personal loan. But perhaps it’s time to think again.

A Credit Union is a financial organisation that encourages its members to borrow and save responsibly. They provide an alternative service to banks, building societies and high interest loan providers. They encourage you to save what you can and borrow only what you can afford to repay.

As a member of or Credit Union you can benefit from:

– Easy, convenient and secure ways to save
– Access to loans that you can afford to repay through flexible payment plans.
– Access to guidance and support to help you take control of your money.


South West Mutual Bank

In recent years, changes in banking legislation have made it possible to establish smaller banks incorporated as co-operatives that are owned and controlled by their members, one member one vote. South West Mutual is one of the first of a UK-wide network of new regional mutual banks seeking licences to offer high street banking services including current accounts, savings and loans delivered both online and in branches.

The requirements of scale and efficiency in banking require a collaboration across the ‘Great South West’ with Cornwall as partner to its neighbouring counties. Therefore, their purpose is to serve the communities of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset with ethical and inclusive banking services that will support fair and sustainable prosperity.

The bank is currently awaiting authorisation by the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority to offer banking facilities to rival other high street banks including local branches, digital channels and current accounts, with the ambition to launch in 2021.

To keep up to date with progress on the launch of South West Mutual Bank subscribe to their newsletter here: https://southwestmutual.co.uk/newsletter-sign-up-1

The Growth Hub

The Growth Hub works with local businesses, including self employed people and not for profit organisations, to find the right guidance and support to help their business work smarter, develop and grow.

The Skills Hub team can help businesses identify skills gaps and work on training programmes. They can help with anything and everything that a business needs to operate and do things better. From digital marketing and sales, to leadership and finance, we’ve got it covered.

They are independent, impartial and totally free. They are fully-funded by the European Social Fund, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership. They work directly with you to help identify and access support in a way that is right for you.


ACORN Falmouth & Penryn

ACORN Falmouth & Penryn are the local branch of the ACORN community trade union. Founded in Bristol in 2014, ACORN is a mass membership organisation and network of low-income people organising for a fairer deal for our communities.

The idea is simple – a national community organisation along the lines of a trade union; organising communities and fighting for a better quality of life.

Their platform includes campaigning for dignified, well-paid and meaningful work that benefits communities and respects the environment. They believe technology should increase the power of organised labour and enrich people’s lives.

The Falmouth & Penryn was officially launched in November 2020. This year, they had led a number of workshops and campaigns, including helping students at the University of Falmouth.


Existing Works Outside of Cornwall

Living Wage Campaign

The Living Wage Foundation is a campaigning organisation in the United Kingdom which aims to persuade employers to pay a living wage. The campaign for a Living Wage is a movement of independent businesses, organisations and citizens who believe a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

As of March 2021, the Living Wage rate is £9.50 for the UK and £10.85 per hour within London.

The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by over 7,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs – like the weekly shop, or a surprise trip to the dentist.

A survey of more than 800 accredited real Living Wage businesses, ranging from SME’s to FTSE 100 companies, found that 93% reported they had gained as a business after becoming a real Living Wage employer.

Over the past 19 years, more than £1.3billion in extra wages has gone to workers and families through the Real Living Wage.

The New Economics Foundation

The NEF is a think-and-do-tank working for a new model of wealth creation, based on equality, diversity and economic stability. Their aim is to transform the economy so that it works for people and the planet. They work with people igniting change from below and combine this with rigorous research to fight for change at the top.

NEF has pioneered ideas and practices including co-production, local money flow analysis, social return on investment, ethical investment and social auditing.

Of particular interest to Cornwall, they have developed their ‘Blue New Deal for Coastal Towns.’ Co-developed by hundreds of people from all regions of the UK, the Blue New Deal is a comprehensive vision and action plan to create good jobs and economic resilience for coastal communities whilst restoring and protecting the natural environments on which they depend.

NEF aims to create a new economy that by 2040 works for people and within environmental limits. They do this by:

– Producing original, rigorous and creative research, and developing policy solutions shaped by the lived experience of those at the sharp end of the old economy.

– Supporting practical, on-the-ground projects that devolve power to communities, and improve wellbeing and sustainability.

– Working alongside people, community groups, activists and organisations to build a movement for economic change.


Proposals for Future Work

The Need for Investment and Wealth Creators

Productivity is measured as the value of output per person, but in Cornwall’s service economy, we need to find new ways of measuring it. Our productivity was 72 against a UK Index of 100; and our wages were 17% less than the national average. Not great for self-esteem, attracting investment or positive image. Some academic analysis needs to be done on lifetime productivity, low staff turnover, wellbeing at work and the value of one’s connection with place, which would show Cornwall as a more progressive county to work in. Knowledge workers will prefer the life Cornwall can offer while leading their businesses and running digital projects, possibly elsewhere in the world.

The new industries emerging and that Cornwall was already developing, need to be financed and developed here with access to sizeable sustainable global funds and with local money following it into enterprises so that any upside benefits local people and businesses. Renewable and community energy, agri-tech, marine R&D, e-health, food & beverages, sustainable tourism, creative -tech all sit well with the Cornish psyche, with our sense of place and the skills we have and will be able to attract.

The opportunities that these more sustainable funds and industries create will allow market forces to lead what the Government calls ‘levelling up’. Investors from traditional centres of wealth will wish to balance their portfolios with stakes in businesses that can flourish in places like Cornwall alongside those such as financial services and manufacturing that are better done in cities.
So we need wealth creators in forward-looking businesses who can create well-paid jobs, who train people with transferable skills and aspirations.

Kim Conchie, CEO Cornwall Chamber of Commerce
Extract from CIPF – A Fair and Just Future for Cornwall Report

Support Small Businesses As Foundation of the New Normal

Cornwall is perhaps one of the best examples of where businesses, communities and authorities have succeeded in working together, in this close-knit rural and coastal economy, to overcome difficulties together. Governments and Local Authorities were initially forced to step in to save the futures of thousands of firms and millions of jobs. Now, we are at a make or break moment and businesses will need very specific support to continue to be the foundation for our county’s journey into a “new normal”.

Despite the hit that small businesses have taken, the pandemic has revealed not just their resilience but the key role that they play in helping their communities and extending a lifeline to its most vulnerable customers.

Countless small businesses have come forwards to help each other, engaging in their local communities and doing their bit to get through to the other side of the crisis.

Proposals in the FSB Report New Horizons that apply to Cornwall:
• Help small businesses to support their local communities
• Strengthen the capacity of Business Improvement Districts to promote local trading.
• Double down on efforts to ensure public sector procurement is fully accessible to small businesses.
• HM Treasury should allow more funding to be used in the council discretionary grant scheme
• Incentivise small businesses to adopt new digital technologies.
• Deliver full fibre connectivity to all premises as soon as possible
• Enable smaller firms to reskill, retrain and upskill their workforce through the National
• Skills Fund.
• Support small businesses to hire young people with joint apprenticeships and employment schemes.

More information can be found at The New Horizons report by Federation of Small Businesses and can be downloaded here: https://www.fsb.org.uk/resource-report/new-horizons.html

Ann Vandermeulen, FSB Cornwall Development Manager

Every Customer Counts – Future Disability Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Project

Every Customer Counts will be a website we have designed and built as a kitemark for inclusive access.

Despite 24 years of disability discrimination legislation, we often hear of the difficulties our members experience in accessing goods and services. Our response was to develop a tool to enable businesses to obtain the information they need to put things right in a simple, easy and affordable way.

We appreciate that good access means different things to different people and is relative to their circumstance, whether a wheelchair user, having sight or hearing loss or a cognitive impairment, for example. So as a pan disability organisation we have taken the approach, incorporating best practice advice from impairment specific organisations.

Quite simply, Every Customer Counts requires three things: Evaluate, Change and Commit.

A business will be able to visit the website and take a quiz, comprising around 60 questions with multiple choice answers. This then generates a personalised access report for the specific business’ premises, based on how they answered the questions, to tell them what they can change and how. They then sign up, receive the ECC logo to display on their website and literature to show their commitment and will be sent an ECC pack, which includes an Inclusive Customer Commitment Policy and a window sticker showing their rating.

It is anticipated businesses will be incentivised to fulfil all recommendations for improvements in their report over time, as they will see the benefits of increased, repeat and loyal custom.

Employment – Proposal from Nick Craker

One of the big local issues for me in Liskeard is the lack of employment land.

We have businesses demand but are without the space to expand employment sites, our adopted Neighbourhood Development Plan is a key document to try to resolve this problem. I think access to good, local employment is so important for sustainable communities and the alleviation of poverty. I do of course appreciate that there is no single, silver bullet, that can solve all of our problems and working in collaboration with other organisations and community groups is really important.

Nick Craker