This week Wales is taking the step to introduce its Socio-economic duty, to protect the most deprived communities and build a fairer and more prosperous community for all. This is something Scotland has previously introduced, and yet it is not currently actioned in England.
Cornwall shares many of the same economic and social issues faced by both Scotland and Wales, and despite the funding to improve Truro announced this week, there is a lot more to rebuilding communities than finance. This is one of the reasons we are working together to Co-create Cornwall’s Future, with this in mind.
Bouncing forward has got to be about inclusion, kindness and caring for ourselves, our neighbours and our communities. The voluntary sector has been recognised time and again as the fabric that has held communities together. Boris Johnson’s response to the Kruger Report was to recognise the ‘tremendous levels of voluntary action’ and the ‘critical support’ the sector lends to Covid recovery. The socio-economic duty model of legislation could help to eradicate poverty and achieve some of this levelling set out by Kruger.
The duty essentially provides a framework to answer the mind bending questions we now face about spending priorities. With public finances devastated by the pandemic, spending must be scrutinised. Cornwall introducing the socioeconomic duty would be a catalyst for systemic change, just as it is in Wales.