New scheme to keep £835m spending within Wolverhampton

Five major public sector organisations in Wolverhampton are set to join a new scheme to ensure their potential £835 million collective spending power is invested in local firms.

The new ‘Wolverhampton Pound’ initiative will unite the combined spending of Wolverhampton Council, City of Wolverhampton College, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton Homes and ensure they prioritise local organisations when making investments.

The council’s cabinet is due to discuss the proposal on Wednesday and if agreed, partners will commit to delivering a 12-month action plan.

In a report to council cabinet members, policy and strategy manager Laura Collings said: “The decision to develop the Wolverhampton Pound approach is in response to the significant impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our communities and the local economy.

“Known as community wealth building, this approach has already been successfully adopted in Preston, Lancashire, where council bosses credit it with creating 1,600 new jobs, £74 million of investment into the city and £200 million into the regional economy.”

Leader of the council, Councillor Ian Brookfield added: “The Wolverhampton Pound is about keeping more of our city’s money right here so that it benefits local people.

“The city’s public sector has massive spending power and what we are envisaging is prioritising local firms and organisations when it comes to decisions over where to spend it.

“If you take the city council, we employ 4,500 people and own 20 per cent of land in the city. When you combine our spending power with our partners, we are looking at more than £835 million annually and 14,000 employees.

“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 lining the pockets of shareholders who have probably never set foot in Wolverhampton,” he added.

The cost of delivering the 12-month action plan is £56,000, which includes consultancy and technical support as well as training for council officers.

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