Recipes for recovery

An uplifting theme of economic recovery today. I was with the Black Country Reinvestment Society this afternoon, which is a co-operative helping to give lifeline finance to small businesses in the West Midlands. They are investing £3m this year and are part of a successful Regional Growth Fund bid by another of our members, the Community Development Finance Association, which will raise this further still.

Then in Westminster for the launch of an IPPR Commission on the economy chaired by Eric Beinhocker. Eric’s comment was that the UK requires a dose of economic co-operation for its recovery that has not been seen since the 1940s.

Reality check

We’ve published a report by Jonathan Bland, looking at international models and experiences of co-operatives running public services. There are some inspiring examples, in Spain, Sweden and Italy in particular.

But it is all a bit of a reality check on the programme here in the UK, which feels like trying to climb a fifty foot ladder with half the rungs missing. We may turn out eventually to be ok, but it is time to get serious.