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While national government approaches to economic policy have focussed on economic output as measured through gross domestic product (GDP), many local government approaches see it as their primary economic responsibility to make the local economy work well for their residents—both in terms of quantity and quality of jobs, and of the provision of adequate local services, amenities and culture. In recent years a growing interventionist inclination has emerged in local government, seeking to shape the local economy in response to many waves of national economic crises. This article explores a range of such approaches and models, with deep-dive analysis of Barking and Dagenham, where both authors have worked. It draws out the lessons for national economic policy and strategy in shaping a more resilient, functional and prosperous everyday economy for people.