Solutions

Create affordable workspaces

Create affordable workspaces

Affordable workspaces are essential to the survival of independent businesses.

The East End Trades Guild Affordable Workspace Manifesto was developed through a democratic process led by its members, and with assistance from the New Economics Foundation. While written for London, where dramatic rent rises are squeezing out independent businesses, many of the measure are relevant to other cities struggling to maintain the diversity of their economic ecosystems.

They include:

A working rent for small businesses
We need a flexible formula of rental affordability for small and micro businesses.

Small business community land trust 
A small business-led community land trust can provide genuinely affordable workspaces for small and micro businesses in perpetuity. CLTs are a viable long-­term solution to the workspace crisis.

Landlords’ register
Create access to comparable rental evidence to support small businesses in keeping rents reasonable, and enable stronger more accountable relationships with commercial landlords.

Policy in practice

Projects that demonstrate the benefits or may be helped by polices like this.

  • Guardians of the Arches
    Railway arch-based small businesses fight for affordable rents.
  • Homebaked
    Residents saved their iconic neighbourhood bakery and transformed it into a thriving community run-business.
  • Kitty’s Launderette
    Not-for-profit launderette offers a cheap place to wash and dry clothes and a warm, welcoming space for the community.
  • Isle of Ulva
    Community campaigners buy their island.
  • The Clipper
    Local residents bought an empty pub and turned it into the city’s first community-owned market.
  • The Larder
    This workers' co-operative connects local growers with businesses in the fightback against food poverty.
  • Portpatrick Harbour
    Community shares helped a struggling village revive its harbour.
  • Grays Riverside
    Thurrock network is strengthening community ties and building local wealth.
  • Islington Community Wealth Building
    Islington, with some of the richest and poorest residents in the country, aims to build a more democratic economy.
  • Scallywags nursery
    Parents collaborate with skilled staff to provide high-quality affordable care at this well-established nursery.