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Local councils should use their powers to support rural community businesses
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has welcomed calls by Plunkett Foundation, Locality and ACRE as part of an Esmée Fairbairn Foundation funded programme that local (parish and town) councils should use their powers to support the creation of community businesses.
Local councils can use borrowing powers where necessary to help residents succeed in obtaining much-needed funding to set up enterprises which are owned and run by the local community.
There are over 600 community businesses open and trading, including shops, pubs, as well as other types of enterprise-focused on benefiting the local area. Whilst every community business is different, they often improve places by keeping valued services open, create jobs and training opportunities, provide an outlet for local products and services, and make a significant contribution to improving resident wellbeing and reducing loneliness.
Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, said: “NALC is fully behind the Plunkett Foundation’s campaign to promote and support rural community businesses. Local councils have a huge role to play and many have the powers to help step in and start campaigns. For example, Nether Wallop Parish Council’s campaign to save its community shops.
Whilst local councils need to check the guidance before they confirm if they have specific powers and how to use them — most should be empowered to make a difference. We encourage local councils to look to Community Rights, which they can use to help save local facilities. We will continue to work very closely with the Plunkett Foundation, Locality and ACRE.”
NALC is working closely with the Plunkett Foundation to promote rural community business and encourages local councils to support the creation of more community businesses in their rural areas.