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Social Enterprise Coalition: ‘Government needs to be bold to deliver Big Society’


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Social Enterprise Coalition: ‘Government needs to be bold to deliver Big Society’

'Government needs to be bold to deliver Big Society’ according to the Social Enterprise Coalition

Responding to the publication of the government white paper on giving, Peter Holbrook, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said:


“While we all want a more giving, kinder society, individuals donating and volunteering simply won’t fill the gaping hole in the economy needed to support those who are unwell, vulnerable or disadvantaged.  Individual giving can only supply a fraction of the capital needed to deliver the huge weight of expectation the government is placing on civil society.


“It is unrealistic to expect the public to help pick up the pieces when unemployment rates are rising and people are being squeezed.  Taxpayers should not be expected to step in and plug the hole where national and local government grants once were – they’re being asked to pay twice.  Nor can we expect charities, many of which are relied on by the state to deliver public services, to count on individual donations.


“Instead businesses and investors should be encouraged and enabled to spend and save their money in a way that helps.”


Holbrook said that the government needs to create a bolder package of measures to encourage “social investment” - private investment into social and environmental solutions:


“Existing measures including community interest tax relief and the Big Society Bank are very well, but they’re not enough.  If the government is serious about creating a Big Society then it needs to draw in the business and finance world.  Government needs to develop a broader set of levers and incentives to attract private capital to tackle deep-rooted problems that are traditionally solved by reliance on the public purse.


“For generations charities have been relied upon to tackle the UK’s social and environmental issues, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.  Rather than looking to what has always been done, the government has an opportunity to change the UK system.  It is ill equipped to deal with the challenges our country is facing.”


Social enterprises are businesses that are set up to tackle social and environmental problems.  


For more information please contact the Social Enterprise Coalition press office on 020 7793 2318 or fran.gorman@socialenterprise.org.uk


The Social Enterprise Coalition (www.socialenterprise.org.uk) is the UK’s national body for social enterprise.  The Coalition represents a wide range of social enterprises, regional and national support networks and other related organisations. We work with our members to inform the national policy agenda, showcase the benefits of social enterprise, and share best practice.