Recession and austerity have had a heavy impact on GM, and have worsened long-term economic inequalities. Traditional economic solutions alone have not changed this, and Brexit will make things worse. The Independent Prosperity Review (Feb 2019) is explicit in finding that improving productivity, living standards and economic inclusion in GM requires further devolution of powers. The role of VCSE organisations is recognised. There is growing interest in ‘inclusive economic growth’, and the work of the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit has provided an evidence base for the ‘social economy’.
GMCVO believes that social enterprise, charity trading, community business, co-operatives and social entrepreneurship can create economic and social impact in places and with people where the state and the market cannot, can build on the assets and resources within communities, and start to address inclusion. A thriving micro-economy offers better access for local people to shops and services, access to 'entry-level' (low / middle skilled) and part time jobs which don’t require difficult journeys, creates 'third spaces' in which people meet others outside their personal networks, and creates increased community cohesion and resilience, which in turn encourages more voluntary and community action creating a virtuous circle.