Social enterprise leaders welcome government steps towards saving one million jobs

Social enterprise sector leaders welcomed news from government today that £85 million is being released in a significant step towards saving the sector, in response to their calls for urgent intervention.

Over 1,000 social enterprises, including The Co-operative Group, have signed a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, urging him to act to protect the UK’s social enterprises. Research showed that without action, half of the sector could run out of money by June - putting one million jobs at risk, including many held by society’s most vulnerable people.

This campaign was led by a coalition of nine social enterprise leaders including Social Enterprise UK, School for Social Entrepreneurs, The Social Enterprise Mark CIC and UnLtd. 

This week’s announcement of unlocking dormant asset funding releases £45 million in emergency loans for charities and social enterprises, and £30 million additional support for social enterprises, helping people in vulnerable circumstances. This is a welcome response to sector campaigning.

It
will also make up to £10 million available for emergency support through social lenders, while developing a wider
programme of recovery finance for the social sector.  
 
Social enterprises are the first responders to hard-hit communities recovering, pivoting to deliver the most urgent social need at this time.  
 
Blackburn-based, Community Clothing work to revive the British textile industry through sustainable fashionand have put their focus on manufacturing PPE to support the NHS. Cynon Valley Organic Adventures in the South Wales Valleys are coordinating regular food deliveries, supplying over 100 households a week and ensuring her local community have access to fresh food. 
 
This announcement comes just in time to support ventures like these, and will make a huge difference to those who receive it. However, there is more still to do to deliver the full package needed to ensure the UK’s most valuable organisations survive the coronavirus pandemic. 

Social enterprise leaders have four clear policies that are quickest and most effective ways to save the sector, and we continue to push for their delivery. 

They are calling for: 

  1. Extending existing business grants to include social enterprises; particularly those working in deprived communities or with vulnerable workers; 
  2. Changing the delivery of loan finance to work for social enterprises; 
  3. Opening up emergency financing for public services to social enterprises delivering services on behalf of the state; 
  4. Providing bespoke business support so that social enterprises can use any funds they do receive effectively to transition their business. 

In response to these developments Mark Norbury, Chief Executive, UnLtd said: 
We are pleased to see the government recognising the crucial role that social entrepreneurs play in sustaining our communities. This financial package is a welcome move to boost a sector that contributes £60bn to the UK economy and works for and by the most vulnerable in society. There is still more to needed to ensure social entrepreneurs are able to make it through this pandemic and we look forward to further steps from the Chancellor. 

Lucy Findlay, MD of Social Enterprise Mark CIC: 
“We are pleased to see that our collective efforts and campaigning as a social enterprise sector are at last being rewarded. It’s great that the government has listened, and we now have some finance measures that will help social enterprises survive and do what they do best – helping to build back a better economy and society for the future.
 We see this is the first step in the Government
recognising the vital importance of supporting the sector to survive this crisis.” 

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK:  "If we are to rebuild the economy, provide decent livelihoods and support communities we need more co-ops, mutuals and social enterprises, not less. We welcome this new funding."

Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK:
“Our members have told us that with the right blend, finance can play a role in getting them through this crisis and beyond into the recovery. That is why we worked with our partners in the sector to raise this issue with government and it is good to see the Secretary of State responding with this additional investment. The more tools that government can give us now, the faster and better we can build our country back up and running.”

Alastair Wilson, CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs:
“Social entrepreneurs are supporting and employing many of the most vulnerable people in society, while trying to keep their businesses afloat during this crisis. We are pleased that the government has recognised the vital role they play in society and economically, as well as their potential to rebuild an economy that works for all. This a welcome step in government support for our sector, and the people who depend on it.”

Ben Carpenter, CEO of Social Value UK:
“It's important we rebuild our economy with businesses that have a broader sense of value creation. The evidence is there to show it's not mutually exclusive, in fact, organisations that are socially and environmentally focussed will be more successful financially.”

  • One million jobs, including over 200,000 in the poorest communities, are at risk of the next two months. 
  • There are 7,600 social enterprises that get 100% of their income from delivering public services. 
  • 1,000 businesses, social enterprises and cooperatives have signed up to a letter calling on the Chancellor to help their businesses or risk choking off the recovery. 
  • The supporters of this campaign are: Co-operatives UK, Community Leisure UK, Locality, Plunkett Foundation, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise UK, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, Social Value UK and UnLtd. 

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