Driving local growth: Lessons from the Preston Model

13 July 2021

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Professor Philip B Whyman, 

Professor Philip B Whyman

Professor of Economics, Co-Director, Research Centre for Business, Management and Enterprise at the University of Central Lancashire

Dr Adrian Wright, 

Dr Adrian Wright

Deputy Head of School (Business Development and Partnerships), Director of Institute for Research into Organisations, Work and Employment (iROWE) at the University of Central Lancashire

Mary Lawler, 

Mary Lawler

Research Assistant at the University of Central Lancashire

Dr Alina Petrescu

Dr Alina Petrescu

Research Fellow in Labour Economics, Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, University of Central Lancashire

The ‘Preston Model’ of Community Wealth Building (CWB) is an innovative policy intervention that ensures that local growth benefits local communities. 

A key component of the Preston Model is changing how procurement from anchor institutions takes place to reduce leakages from the local economy and raise levels of economic activity in the area, whilst facilitating the creation of local supply chains. Across the economy, the Preston Model has had promising results: in the first four years of its operation, local procurement spend increased from 5% to 18.2% within Preston and 39% to 79.2% in Lancashire resulting in strengthened local supply chains. Growth per head and labour productivity (GVA per hour worked) all grew faster than the UK average and unemployment shifted from above to below the UK average.

However, until now analysis has not centred on the experience of creative businesses. This briefing explores whether the Preston Model has worked for the sector, and finds that creative businesses do seem to have benefited from its interventions, with a set of anchor institutions underpinning 9% of turnover in those creative businesses in Preston interviewed by the research team in 2019/20. The report then goes on to explore what might need to be changed in order to maximise benefits to creative businesses. 

This insight briefing precedes publication of a paper commissioned by the PEC from the University of Central Lancashire. The full paper will be made available later in the year.

This policy briefing is being published as part of the PEC’s campaign Creative Places, which is calling for the government to invest in our local creative industries.

Please reference this paper as:

Whyman, P.B., Wright, A., Lawler, M. and Petrescu, A. (2021) Driving local growth: Lessons from the Preston Model. Preston: University of Central Lancashire funded  by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre. Available from:  https://www.pec.ac.uk/policy-briefings/stimulating-local-growth-through-procurement-lessons-from-the-preston-model

Illustration by Dave Rob Design