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|In his regular column, Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd argues that the Big Society Bank will help build the social investment market – providing a ‘third pillar of funding’ for charities and social enterprises – by connecting the sector with billions of pounds sitting in mainstream financial institutions.|
I am a huge fan of Debra Allcock Tyler but find myself in disagreement with her for the first time. She does not see the need for a Big Society Bank as she sees no demand for social investment. More grants are what Debra wants and I dare say she has a lot of support for that pitch from small organisations gasping for air right now. I understand that.
However I believe that the social investment market, however embryonic, is an important long-term opportunity for the sector. We want social entrepreneurs to take full advantage of new opportunities to deliver public services and to take over community assets. For ten years now the sector has been saying how hard it is to access capital. We want to make it easier.
We also want to make it easier for those with savings to invest to do it for good. If someone I trusted came to me with an investment proposition that gave me the chance to get my money back and make a difference to something I cared about then my mind would be open. Wouldn't yours be?
The social investment market offers that opportunity, and we want to encourage its growth. It is the chance to connect the sector with billions of pounds sitting in mainstream financial institutions. The Big Society Bank can be a bridge between two worlds and a catalyst for a serious, third pillar of funding to sit alongside giving and public sector grants/contracts.
This is a long-term strategic intervention, not a short term panacea for loss of grants. We have set out our social investment strategy in a document available on Cabinet Office web site: Visit http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/growing-social-investment-market-vision-and-strategy [external website].
As always I am very happy to have debate with followers of this column. And with Debra!
As ever, you can email me your thoughts, comments and questions.
Read Debra’s take on the Big Society Bank in Third Sector [external website].
Nick’s views are his own and are not necessarily shared by DSC.