On 18th June 2019, the team behind May’s Financing for Society report led a training workshop for Local Authority Finance and Treasury teams, as well as professional services, legal, and corporate partners, focused upon the potential of Community Municipal Bonds (CMBs).
Through a series of roundtable workshops, we stressed that UK Local Authorities – on the front line of some of the biggest social and environmental challenges we face – need to find alternative sources of finance at a time when central government funding has declined significantly under austerity (around a 60% reduction in real terms).
As the UK is also the world’s leading creator and innovator of investment-based crowdfunding, part of a national alternative finance sector valued at £6.2 billion, the team from Leeds, Abundance Investment and Local Partnerships explained how this unique ecosystem of alternative finance could offer new capacity for local authorities to invest in local infrastructure and face those challenges.
Presentations by case-study partners at Bristol City Council and Leeds City Council underlined the potential of CMBs to drive a new model of citizen-led finance that would also help to engage local residents – as investors as well as beneficiaries and service users – in a new set of relationships with local authorities.
Questions from attendees focused upon legal and technical barriers, as well as a culture of ‘risk-aversion’ in local authorities (issues we tackle in the report), but consensus was that CMBs were worth exploring further.
To read more about the project, and to download for free our main report and the shorter Local Authority Guide, visit our Financing for Society webpage by clicking here.