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Creating an inclusive economy

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Labour-led Islington Council’s vision is for an inclusive economy which benefits and works for all residents. This is why the Council has developed an affordable workspace strategy that secures a significant volume of genuinely affordable workspace from commercial developments.

In Islington, Tech City at Old Street roundabout continues to flourish and grow, and the design-led creative industries in Farringdon and Clerkenwell go from strength to strength.

However, the economic growth led by the tech, digital, and design-led sectors in the borough have not always included local residents, many of whom often live in close proximity to these growth sectors. These sectors are also known for their lack of diversity and participation of women, black and minority ethnic communities and working class residents.

The Labour-led Council’s new strategy for affordable workspaces seeks to redress these inequalities by embedding social value as a benefit to local residents through opportunities for employment, skills, apprenticeships, and access to workspace free of charge or at significantly reduced rents in the tech, digital and design-led creative sectors.

This week, Islington Council’s Executive agreed plans to allow the award of leases to workspace providers to manage affordable workspaces and to deliver real social value and benefit for local people.

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Economic Development, says: “I am excited about the role that affordable workspaces will play in Islington Labour’s plans for an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

“Our vision for Islington’s economic growth is one which includes and benefits local people who live in the borough. As well as creating employment opportunities, it is also important that we provide affordable workspaces to protect local and independent businesses from being priced out of the borough due to rising rents.

“We have already received lots of expressions of interest from potential affordable workspace providers, who share Islington’s vision for an inclusive economy. I look forward to working with them to deliver employment, apprenticeship and training outcomes for local people.”

Affordable workspace providers who are awarded contracts to manage the Council’s affordable workspaces will be required to promote equality and diversity, by ensuring people working there reflect the demographic make-up of the local community.

The Council is expecting four new affordable workspaces to be open this year, creating new employment, apprenticeship and training opportunities for local people. Three of these workspaces will be near the Old Street roundabout and another will be in Farringdon.

Last month, Islington Council’s vision for an inclusive economy received a boost from the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Its bid to create more affordable workspaces in Finsbury Park was awarded £1.03 million from the Good Growth Fund.

 

Pictured - Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Economic Development

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