Paul Howell MP: The most covenantal speech of the week
Each week the New Social Covenant Unit recognises Members of Parliament for their covenantal credentials as spotted on the green benches.
Restore local pride in place, says Paul Howell MP
Speaking to his Ten Minute Rule Motion on a ‘Community Wealth Fund’, Paul argued that both places and people are matter - social as much as physical infrastructure - and that we must level up by devolving down to communities.
Communities thrive when they enjoy a vibrant local civic life, whether it is built around a shared local history, heritage and experiences, or important local assets and institutions, such as a pub, library, football club or community centre. These cultural and heritage assets help to create bonds of trust, and to cement the relationships and strengthen the ties that bind us to each other and to the place we call home. They underpin our unwritten social covenant and generate trust between the people who live in a place—a trust that can be relied on in times of difficulty. These are things that local residents understand.
The Community Wealth Fund is designed to ensure long-term, community-led investment makes it to neighbourhoods that have lost facilities and services including community centres, pubs and transport links.
Elsewhere, in the debate on Dormant Assets, several MPs supported the principle of a Community Wealth Fund, including Kieran Mullan, Danny Kruger and Labour’s Rachael Maskell. In this debate, Paul quoted the late Jonathan Sacks:
I would like us to consider the idea of the late Jonathan Sacks that a social covenant, which is relational and human, is preferable to a social contract, which is transactional and bureaucratic.
The Unit describes the covenant as an implicit mutual commitment, extending backwards and forwards in history, to sustain our common life and pursue the common good together. We need a new social covenant to strengthen families, communities and the nation.
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