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Creating affordable financial services from the bottom-up: The role of community finance in achieving healthy, just and sustainable cities

Jones, PA (2018) Creating affordable financial services from the bottom-up: The role of community finance in achieving healthy, just and sustainable cities. Journal of Co-operative Studies, 50. pp. 7-18. ISSN 0961-5784

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Over the last 20 years, Liverpool has undergone a process of urban regeneration that has facilitated a new waterfront, a growth in the visitor economy, a huge increase in commercial and cultural activity and in apartment living in the city centre. But on the housing estates that surround the city, poverty, financial exclusion, over- indebtedness and deprivation persist. Marginalised by the banks and mainstream financial provides, large numbers of people on low-incomes lack access to affordable financial services and are left with little choice but to use high-cost, sub-prime financial providers. The result is greater financial insecurity for many, often with significant detrimental effects on health and well-being. This paper argues that there can be no healthy, just or sustainable city without access to affordable financial services appropriate to the needs of its inhabitants. Yet the for-profit banking sector has shown little interest in serving low-income communities. In Britain, it has often been left to volunteers to come together to respond to the financial needs of their own communities through the creation of self-help financial co-operatives known as credit unions. The paper traces the development of British credit unions and analyses their role within the social economy as community-driven, democratic and mutual financial institutions. It explores their contribution to social, economic and community development and how they have become regarded by policy makers in national and local government as filling gaps abandoned by the state and by the private financial sector and as key long-term players in serving low-income communities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: community finance; healthy cities; 1503 Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: UK Society of Co-operative Studies
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 31 May 2024 15:24
Last Modified: 31 May 2024 15:30
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23401
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