I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that response. I certainly agree that small businesses that are social enterprises are one way of using the skills of those who are being made redundant in the work force, and of getting them back in order to lead the recovery. Will he tell the House what funds the Government are putting in to meet the targets that he has identified?
[Official Report, 25 February 2009, Vol. 488, c. 280.]
Letter of correction from Mr. Liam Byrne:
An error has been identified in the oral response given to the hon. Member for Brent, North (Barry Gardiner) on 25 February 2009. The correct figure for the investment through Futurebuilders is £215 million.
The correct answer is as follows:
I thank my hon. Friend for the work that he does to champion this agenda. The number of those in the social enterprise work force has grown by some 25 per cent. over the past 10 years, and that has not happened by accident. It has happened because we have doubled the public income going into the third sector—into social enterprises, voluntary groups and charities—up to £11 billion over the past 10 or 11 years.
If we want to grow the social enterprise work force still further over the years to come, however, we shall have to back that commitment with investment, rather than cuts. That is why we are providing £215 million-worth of investment through Futurebuilders, and why the Department of Health will provide £100 million-worth of investment funding through its social enterprise fund.