My erstwhile colleague Jessica Prendergrast has just published a fascinating post on the problems of social mobility in coastal towns and rural areas. Its a response to the Social Mobility Commission’s fifth ‘State of the Nation’ report. As one of the directors of the Onion Collective in Watchet, Somerset, Jess has been deeply involved in the development of community projects and social enterprises for many years.
Here’s an idea a bold government could implement:
In fact, how about government thinks really differently? The report’s authors call for Government to devise an industrial strategy that marries economic and social policies and delivers an effective place-based approach to change. Well, what would happen if you took £10 million worth of taxes paid by one of those big city firms, but instead of removing them from how those taxes are put to work, we asked that same firm, with all its talent and resources, to work with us on our Industry for Watchet project? This would create a direct link between those at the top and those at the bottom, between those paying the taxes, and those using them to transform lives. It would tie us together in a powerful and ground-breaking endeavour to transform connections and opportunities. It would revolutionise the nature of the redistributive effort.
The image above is the recently closed Wansbrough Mill Paper Mill in Watchet, West Somerset. Photo: Glyn Jarrett