Archives for posts with tag: Sir Adrian Cadbury

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The Attwood Awards were inaugurated by Sir Adrian Cadbury and economist James Robertson in 2002. They celebrate work done in this country to further any of the three aims of the city’s first MP, Thomas Attwood. Seven of the fourteen recipients came from the West Midlands: brief summaries of all 14 may be seen here.  

Ridhi Kalaria (Ort Gallery) received the 15th award last week at a meeting of the West Midlands New Economics Group in The Warehouse, Digbeth. She has been working in her spare time to set up a local currency. One of several advantages is its potential to enable and encourage local businesses to source locally wherever possible, shortening the supply chain, strengthening local economies and furthering the common good.

ridhi-videoTo see the video, click here

As Bev Hurley, CBE, CEO of YTKO says: ‘Smaller businesses remain engines for growth, creating 60% of all private sector jobs and £1.6 trillion of revenue . . . The success of a small business doesn’t only impact its owners; it has a ripple effect throughout the local economy. The whole point is if we can make [small business owners] more resilient and grow, and improve their profits and turnover, they will take on new people and create new jobs”.

Many awardees have lived further afield, but recent local recipients include:

2010: Birmingham Energy Savers: https://thomasattwood.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/2010-attwood-awards/the innovative Birmingham Energy Savers scheme

2013: Architect and urban designer Joe Holyoak: https://thomasattwood.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/2013-attwood-award-city-architect-and-urban-designer-joe-holyoak/

2014: Karen Leach, Localise West Midlands: https://ourbirmingham.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/karen-leach-2014-attwood-award-for-working-to-strengthen-the-regions-economy/

2017?  Possibly a celebration of WM hydrogen transport pioneers

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tom greevesThe Bournville area of Birmingham has had a pioneering role in the use of solar energy in Britain and a paper which briefly describes this has been commissioned by Greening the North in memory of the late Tom Greeves, who was inspired by reading The Limits to Growth by the Club of Rome.

This book, which reported that continued economic growth using existing technology was not sustainable and could threaten everyone’s future survival, led him to study electronic engineering in order to develop the clean and efficient technologies that were going to have to replace existing fuels.

Tom Greeves was an engineer at Cadbury’s in Bournville, and became a trustee of the Bournville Village Trust (BVT), serving for 32 years, from 1971 to 2003 and acting as vice-chair for 14 years. He contributed his technical knowledge and his long term commitment to solar energy.

He worked with Professor Leslie Jesch of Birmingham University to implement designs for houses that were solar heated by very large south-facing windows and conservatories. Together with Dr. Lubo Jankovic and the Solar Energy Lab at Birmingham University, they demonstrated that ordinary houses in the British climate with solar energy could show a major reduction in the fuel required to heat them.

A new low energy housing development by the BVT at Lower Shenley, was the last housing project with which Tom Greeves was involved before he retired from the Trust. The Bournville solar principles were extended to 167 homes, using input from local eco-architect John Christophers of Associated Architects, who designed the houses with glazed sun spaces and solar water heating.

Retirement did not mean inactivity however, and he made a valuable contribution to setting up Northfield Eco-centre and improving the energy efficiency of Cotteridge Friends Meeting House which became an exemplar of a low carbon community building, having cut energy use by over 90%.

solar pioneers cover bestThe late Sir Adrian Cadbury described the draft paper as an admirable account of Tom’s practical championship, backed by his technical knowledge, of solar power:

”He understood the impact of climate change and through the Northfield Ecocentre demonstrated how at community level we could all play our part in adapting our lives to its impact. At Bournville he made a great contribution to the introduction of new methods through his work in the Research & Development Department.

“The draft is a remarkably consistent record of advances in the application of technology for community benefit, all of it driven by Tom for the public good. It is an inspiring record which through Tom’s modesty would not have been appreciated without this background research.

“Tom was a real pioneer, wonderfully modest and unassuming. His inspiration and example will be greatly missed”.

Read the well-illustrated paper here: https://ourbirmingham.wordpress.com/solar-pioneers-of-bournville/

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Many obituaries are extolling the work of Sir Adrian Cadbury, who died on 3rd September 2015. In the FT details are given about his standing as “the pre-eminent British authority on corporate governance”; he had chaired the committee that produced the ‘pioneering Cadbury report’. Other points made were that he had been the longest-serving member of the Bank of England’s Court of Governors – and had rowed for England at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. This January he was made Companion of Honour in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Not mentioned:

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His connection with the University of Aston, which began in the 1950s, when it was a College of Advanced Technology. In his role at Cadburys, Sir Adrian forged links with the then Department of Industrial Administration (later Aston Business School, above) and following the receipt of its Charter in 1966, he joined the University Council. In 1979 he succeeded Lord Nelson as Chancellor, helping to steer Aston through difficult times in the 1980s when the sector was subjected to ‘disastrous’ funding cuts.

Another instance: years ago Sir Adrian Cadbury set up the Aston Democracy Commission to find out why so few people were voting in this area of high unemployment. The general response was that people had found that, once elected, politicians ignored their plight and so had decided voting was pointless.

One of the commission’s findings was that local people who wanted to set up or develop a small business could not get bank loans because they owned no assets. Banks and building societies had withdrawn from Aston because the amount of business being transacted did not warrant the expense of maintaining these branches. People were having recourse to money lenders who often charged exorbitantly high interest charges and to pawnbrokers.

art 2logoTo address this, he worked with Localisation West Midlands’ co-founder Pat Conaty, then working at the Birmingham Settlement, to set up the Aston Reinvestment Trust [ART]. This is a revolving ‘not for personal profit’ fund: when loans are repaid the money helps another business and profit is reinvested in the trust.

In a 2014 email he wrote: “It was my experience on the Aston Commission which led to the foundation of the Aston Investment Trust. I appreciated the absence of any source of finance in the area and while we could not help over crime and litter, we could fill a gap on financial advice and lending”. Over the years it has created or retained thousands of jobs in the city. He chaired ART for several years and continued as Life-President.

attwood 2 headerIn his inaugural address for the Thomas Attwood group at the BMI, he referred to that philanthropic politician: “Local people were involved in much of Attwood’s work for justice and democracy. He had, in fact, to contain and restrain their strongly expressed feelings from escalating into physical violence” adding that “As a ‘country’ banker Attwood would have felt some empathy with local people who brought forward the problems caused by the withdrawal of banks and building societies from Aston because the amount of business being transacted did not warrant the expense of maintaining these branches. People were having recourse to money lenders who often charged exorbitantly”.

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In November 2006 he acted as a judge, with Solihull MP Lorely Burt and Alan Clawley (urban regeneration), to determine the Attwood Award that year. Local people has submitted alternative plans for the former Territorial site in Haslucks Green Rd, Shirley – now developed as “Parkgate”. The award was presented to Fred Carpenter, one of four finalists, who had received training in the air cadets (later based on that site) and had served in the RAF. Sir Adrian said that his practical plan for a well–designed continental style retirement development, accompanied by a “delightful map”, would be of benefit to the people and shopkeepers of Shirley.

The Aston Democracy Commission came to reflect Thomas Attwood’s belief that Birmingham people could manage the city’s affairs better than a London-based government (emphasis added)

Adrian Cadbury shared Attwood’s belief that decisions need to be taken as near as possible to where their impact would be made. The findings of the Aston Democracy Commission reflected Thomas Attwood’s belief that Birmingham people could manage the city’s affairs better than a London-based government.

Sir Adrian said that the fact that some independent candidates have been successful in recent mayoral elections indicated the unpopularity of party systems. The Commission had found that the low voting rates reflect realistic attitudes rather than apathy. Voters believed that in all likelihood their vote would make no difference to the quality of the service they were getting.

Part of the remedy for this, he felt, would be to change the current situation in which central government has assumed control of 80% of the city’s budget, determining not only its size but the precise disposition of these funds, leaving little scope for local government. He believed that Westminster ought to loosen its grip on spending and decision-making and that local government should devolve decision-making to those closest to the issues. Another important aspect of restoring an active democracy, he said, was to build up the capacities of local people to make decisions.

Adrian Cadbury added that constitutional means must be found to reverse centralism – one being the move toward regional government. We all have a responsibility to encourage this and say that we shall place our votes with those supporting such policies.

 

 

adrian cadbury 2Reading several ‘devolutionary’ articles highlighted in the Brummie aggregator site has prompted a reader to recall a 2002 address at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, given by Sir Adrian Cadbury at the first meeting of the Thomas Attwood Group.

After saying that he shared Attwood’s belief that decisions need to be taken as near as possible to where their impact would be made, Adrian Cadbury recalled the findings of the Aston Democracy Commission, which he chaired.

The Aston Commission worked for two years seeking to find ways of promoting inner city regeneration in the ward – with consultation undertaken from the ‘bottom up’ rather than from the ‘top down’. It came to reflect Thomas Attwood’s belief that Birmingham people could manage the city’s affairs better than a London-based government.

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In an electorate generally perceived as being apathetic because of the low level of voting, a lively concern was expressed about the poor delivery of municipal services such as waste disposal, street cleaning and policing. The Commission found that the low voting rates reflect realistic attitudes rather than apathy. Voters believed that in all likelihood their vote would make no difference to the quality of the service they were getting.

Part of the remedy for this, Adrian Cadbury felt, would be to change the current situation in which central government has assumed control of 80% of the city’s budget, determining not only its size but the precise disposition of these funds, leaving little scope for local government.

He believes that Westminster ought to loosen its grip on spending and decision-making, and local government to devolve decision-making to those closest to the issues. Another important aspect of restoring an active democracy, he said, was to build up the capacities of local people to make decisions.

European precedents were touched on, including the devolutionary steps taken by the French thirty years ago. A passing reference was made to the extent of the responsibilities exercised by the mayors of Lille and Barcelona. Adrian Cadbury ended by saying that constitutional means must be found to reverse centralism – one being the move toward regional government: “We all have a responsibility to encourage this and say that we shall place our votes with those supporting such policies”.

Earlier this month, a poll commissioned by the BBC suggested some 80% of people in England supported having more powers devolved to local areas. Now, it is reported that the leaders of 119 English councils – 65 controlled by Labour, 40 by Conservatives and 10 by Liberal Democrats – have called on Chancellor Osborne, to use Wednesday’s Autumn Statement to outline a “new settlement for England” which devolves power from Westminster and shares tax and spending across the UK “on a fair basis”.

The most recent Brummie lead on devolution was to an article on the Chamberlain Forum website by Paul (Dale?), which warned:

“We need to agree whether we talking about devolution that will tip cities over into being almost entirely the agents of central government, or the kind of devolution that will reverse that trend and give rise to a new sort of accountable municipalism and vigour based on an increased proportion of the money which pays for government as a whole being collected locally”.

In the council chamber, Cllr John Clancy’s passionate address about the ‘Unemployment Iceberg’ earlier this month, was warmly applauded and can be seen on video here.  

He said that long-term unemployment is soaring – up 49% during the last 12 months – due to the economic crisis caused by the financial sector, not ordinary people. No one is spending and we need to change course before we hit the iceberg.

Today’s news questions the value of demoralising training for jobs which do not exist and of ‘providers’ like A4e, with its average success rate of 3.5%, according to data seen by Channel 4 News. Let’s find out more about actual working models created by local people: 

A revolving ‘not for personal profit’ fund 

Years ago, Sir Adrian Cadbury set up the Aston Commission which published several findings; one was that people in the area were unable to get bank loans to start or improve businesses because they had no form of security to offer. To address this, he worked with Localisation West Midlands’ co-founder Pat Conaty, then working at the Birmingham Settlement, to set up a revolving ‘not for personal profit’ fund – the Aston Reinvestment Trust [ART] . When loans are repaid the money helps another business and profit is reinvested in the company. Over the years it has created or retained more than 4000 jobs in the city.  

Paid work experience, with training for long-term unemployed, through community businesses 

Dr Christine Parkinson studied as a biologist and spent the first part of her career in medical research before changing direction and moving to Birmingham, where she has helped to develop three socially beneficial projects in the inner city. One was the Jericho Community Project, which continues to offer paid work experience with training, to the long-term unemployed, through community businesses. 

Resisting off-shoring and training apprentices

The Davies family have a proud, unbroken record of training apprentices, the industrial norm until the 70s. Managing director Kirsty, currently West Midlands Family Business Director of the Year, hit the headlines when the Chamber of Commerce was vigorously promoting offshoring to local manufacturers. She ‘went public’: “With what they are proposing, they will take work away from the West Midlands and once you do that then you will never get it back . . . It may be old fashioned but I think firms have a moral duty to protect their employees and exporting manufacturing abroad is no way to do that.”

And with help from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund . . .

Winson Green-based Sunsolar which currently supplies and install PV Solar Panels has been awarded £5m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to build solar PV panels. This will be added to a £5 million company investment in building a new factory in Oldbury for the purpose, employing local suppliers and hoping to create as many as 565 new jobs over the next five years. Rob Grant, Sunsolar’s Business Manager adds:

“To begin with the modules will be produced using cells purchased from Europe; however this is only on a short-term solution to get the factory up and running this year. The company is currently placing an order for cell manufacturing machinery which it expects to be in place by the beginning of next year. At that point the manufacturing of the whole module will come from within the UK.”

News of other enterprises directly or indirectly addressing the demoralising unemployment ‘iceberg’ will be welcomed and featured here.