With so much going on in politics this week, you might feel it’s taking a long time to catch up on everything. This is why UnLtd’s policy and communications team has gathered the most relevant announcements for social entrepreneurs from the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s speech today.
The full budget is announced in Autumn, but the Spring Statement is an opportunity for the Government to give an update on the nation’s finances. In the current political climate with uncertainties around Brexit and the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, there weren’t many tangible announcements or measures aimed at supporting the social economy.
However, there are a small number of initiatives that are good news for social entrepreneurs working on certain issues.
The provision of free sanitary products to girls in secondary schools is a welcome announcement, and a testament to the hard work of those campaigning on period poverty, including UnLtd award-winning Hey Girls.
The Government has promised action for audit committees to review late payments. This could be a positive step for many small businesses - including social ventures - who struggle with cash flow issues as a result of being paid late.
£100 million has been promised for the police to deliver a cross-agency response to tackle knife crime. We hope that this will provide opportunities for social entrepreneurs offering solutions to help steer young people away from crime, such as:
Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR)
The Chancellor has announced a call for evidence on the use of the SITR scheme to date, including why it has been used less than anticipated and what impact it has had on access to finance for social enterprise.
Other announcements included measures to increase productivity by investing in infrastructure, accelerating clean growth and updating competition rules for the digital market.
Sadly, there were no announcements on measures to improve health and social care. However, the Comprehensive Spending Review is just around the corner and this should include some detail on the Government’s plans. It will also set departmental budgets, including 3-year budgets for resource spending (if an EU exit deal is agreed). We hope it will include initiatives to support social entrepreneurs who are helping people live longer, healthier and happier lives, for example by expanding social prescribing opportunities.
The Chancellor also mentioned the Government’s record-breaking employment figures, yet the reality is that not everyone with the desire to work is able to find meaningful employment. The Government has already promised to halve the disability employment gap (a key area of UnLtd’s work), and we look forward to seeing what the Comprehensive Spending Review brings that could help social entrepreneurs scale up and provide more employment opportunities for those distant from the labour market.
I have been working for UnLtd since November 2016. As a Policy Officer I am working with the government and other decision makers to create a more enabling environment for social entrepreneurs to start up and thrive. Previously I gained experience in charity and social entrepreneurship consulting in Hungary. I have a BA in International Relations and a MSc in Management and have completed the Charityworks graduate scheme while working at London's Air Ambulance.
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