Citizen Action Monitor

UK town’s economic plan envisages significant benefits flowing from increased localization

The report identifies a multi-million pound opportunity to create new jobs, grow new enterprises and help existing businesses to thrive in Totnes & District, UK.

No 724 Posted by fw, April 19, 2013

This post opens with a 5:17-minute video introduction to the Totnes plan by Fiona Ward, Project Manager for Local Economic Blueprint project, Transition Town Totnes. Following the video is the Executive Summary of the Totnes Local Economic Blueprint, authored by Ward. For a free download of the 32-page report, click on the preceding linked title.

REconomy’s Fiona Ward discusses the Totnes Local Economic Blueprint – published March 21, 2013

Totnes Local Economic Blueprint: Executive Summary by Fiona Ward, March 28, 2013

Fiona Ward is the Project Manager for Local Economic Blueprint project, Transition Town Totnes

Totnes and District is feeling the effects of the economic downturn, along with the rest of the country. Climate change impacts and rising energy costs are further signs that the assumptions underpinning our current economic system need urgent review. Here we have an unusually independent economy. Rather than sacrifice that by pursuing growth at any cost, here we suggest that protecting and enhancing this economy is where our future lies. But how will this provide the jobs we all need to survive?

This report identifies a multi-million pound opportunity to create new jobs, grow new enterprises and help existing businesses to thrive. It’s people-based, community-led, sustainable economic development that provides new livelihoods. At the same time, it helps ensure we can feed ourselves, minimize our fuel bills and carbon emissions, provide safer refuge for our savings and pensions and take care of those most in need.

This work brings together a coalition of local stakeholder organisations, anchored here in our community, to develop an economic approach designed specifically for Totnes and District (T&D), and shows that we can unite to deliver real change.

The project has looked at 4 key sectors and used publicly available data to compile a picture of what each sector could be worth to our local economy, if we develop more demand for local products and services, delivered by local independent businesses and using a supply chain closer to home.

Just developing 10% of this potential could contribute over £5m to our local economy within the next 12-24 months. This is worth even more than its face value, as more of the money continues to recycle locally when it’s spent on local things from local independent businesses (the local multiplier effect).

Caring for those that need extra help in our community will bring some economic benefit to local enterprises too, but more importantly, we can find new ways to use other means of exchange to look after each other better, especially the most vulnerable.

While we do not suggest that all of our needs could be met by our local area, we propose that what can be grown and produced here, should be, where there are net benefits to doing so. The rest will be met by trade both national and global, as has always been the case. This Local Economic Blueprint tells the story of a new kind of local economy, one based around people, their wellbeing, and their livelihoods, and which better respects resource limits. It calls to action more of our local organisations and businesses, and invites them to work with us to shape this story and turn it into reality.

[The Blueprint’s key conclusions] —

Food and drink — Up to £22m of money leaves our local food economy each year on food imports. Diverting just 10% of this existing spend within the next year or so would boost our local businesses by over £2m. Local independent shops offer three times the number of jobs as the main supermarkets, for the same retail spend, and local food producers employ 50% more workers than larger scale farms.

Making our homes energy efficient — Retrofitting activity on our homes is worth £26m (basic) – £75m (full) in total. This relates to around 70 to 700 jobs respectively across the whole supply chain, and we want to maximize our share of these. Aiming to unlock 10% of the basic spend within the next year adds up to £2.6m to our local economy.

Developing our renewable energy assets — This could generate over £6m worth of energy each year for householders and community investors. The solar PV technology alone could deliver 370 jobs across the supply chain, some of them based here. Building just 10% of this capacity adds another £600k into our economic system each year.


  • Totnes publishes groundbreaking Local Economic Blueprint by Rob Hopkins, Transition Network Org., March 28, 2013. Hopkins, a co-founder of Transition, sees the publication of the Totnes economic blueprint as “what may well turn out to be one of the most important documents yet produced by a Transition initiative.”
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