Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Recession, Recovery and Reinvestment : the role of local economic leadership in a global crisis


Since the current economic crisis began in earnest in September 2007 with the collapse of banks in the UK and USA, we have seen the triggering of a global recession and wider processes of economic restructuring. The global recession itself took hold in 2008, with many countries experiencing a deep economic crisis early in 2009. In this context national governments and intergovernmental organisations have played the major role in tackling the crisis with both new developments in regulation of financial services, bank recapitalisation, fiscal stimulus packages, support for industries and companies, and assistance to workers displaced by the crisis. Regional level action has also been important in many countries and has added significantly to national efforts.

In this paper we address local economic development actions that have been taken to respond to the crisis. Local economic development leaders have met regularly over the past six months to discuss how their economies are being impacted by the crisis and what responses they have begun to take at a local level to complement what is being done at national and wider levels.


What has emerged most powerfully from this brief review is that local economic leaders

  • Have taken a wide range of steps to protect and support their local economies in the past nine months.
  • Have been innovative in using the resources and the assets at their disposal to support their local economies through new services, investment initiatives, and flexibilities.
  • See the crisis, not just as a threat, but also as an opportunity to refine long term strategy, forge new alliances, and re-consider where local development can make the best contribution.


This review seeks to identify some of these most interesting practices and present them for wider discussion amongst practitioners and policy makers.


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