Local economies can be revived post-Covid through 'localism' Maajid Nawaz suggests

20 September 2020, 15:50

By Seán Hickey

Maajid Nawaz took the example of Waltham Forest village to show that suburban degeneration can be reversed.

Before the coronavirus pandemic "you started seeing the decline of our neighbourhoods," through our way of living, Maajid Nawaz noted.

"We were travelling into the centres of towns and cities to work and play...what was happening was city centres were rejuvenating."

He told listeners that "we reversed the decline of our inner city centres but the pendulum swung too far," resulting in the decline of small residential towns.

Maajid noted that thanks to the Government's Eat Out To Help Out the rebirth of Britain's local communities began. "What you started to see instead was that people started to eat more in their local restaurants."

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Maajid brought in the example of Waltham Forest, who implemented the '20 minute neighbourhood' model - making the entire town accessible by foot in 20 minutes, but not allowing cars.

He told listeners that in the town footfall increased which meant that local businesses "actually make more money" and the whole situation contributed to a "friendlier atmosphere."

Maajid, looking at the success of Waltham Forest, imagined that if the same policy was implemented elsewhere it could be a positive change for local economies.