Thu, 09 Jul 2020
WEST Berkshire Council will be launching the UK’s first Community Municipal Investment next Thursday.
The scheme aims to offer residents and community groups a unique way to invest directly in a greener future for the district.
The move, which was backed by all political parties in West Berkshire, supports the district council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency and is a key part of the council’s new Environment Strategy.
A Community Municipal Investment (CMI) is a bond or loan mechanism issued by a council directly to the public.
It will be provided in partnership with the online crowdfunding platform Abundance Investment, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
CMIs can be used to supplement, diversify or replace sources of borrowing to fund specific infrastructure projects, or to refinance existing debt.
The council will use its CMI to finance green projects in the district, such as installation of solar panels at a building on Greenham Common and five other buildings, including two local schools.
West Berkshire Council’s executive member for finance and economic development Ross Mackinnon (Con, Bradfield) said: “We’e very excited to be the first council to offer CMIs to our residents and community groups.
“They are a ground-breaking way to put residents’ money to work to help us build back greener after the pandemic.
“Communities investing directly with us will provide us with a cheaper alternative to conventional sources of funds reducing the overall cost of borrowing to all taxpayers across the district as well as making a positive contribution toward our target to be carbon neutral by 2030.”
West Berkshire Council’s executive member for the environment Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con, Thatcham Colthrop & Crookham) said: “This is great news for West Berkshire.
“A greener future is something that everybody wants, and this is an opportunity for local people to help us to drive towards that – I hope that as many people as possible will participate.”
Abundance Investment co-founder and managing director Bruce Davis said: “After many months of development, there is real excitement at the prospect of the UK’s first Community Municipal Investment which will open a new chapter in the development of crowdfunding and the move to democratise finance.
“People want to mobilise their money to help their local council build back better and greener.
“West Berkshire are leading the way and we hope many other councils in the UK will follow.”
For more information, visit https://www.abundanceinvestment. com/