Skip to main content

Non-profit Making Associations: Government Assistance

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 30 April 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what support the Government are providing to social enterprise during the economic downturn; what steps he has taken to inform social enterprises of the availability of that support; and if he will make a statement. (271424)

Social enterprises are businesses and can benefit from all government support for business. This includes extra support during the recession through the "Real Help Now" packages for business and finance highlighted by BERR and OTS (details available through Business Link).

In addition, new programmes such as the Modernisation Fund announced in “Real Help for Communities”, the Government's action plan to support the third sector during the economic downturn, are relevant to social enterprise. This action plan also includes new investment in the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and announced an independent review on the incentives for investment in social enterprises, a review on the limits on distributions by CICs and support to the sector to market themselves successfully as the economy recovers.

Budget 2009 announced further support for the third sector. This includes a £20 million hardship fund to support third sector organisations delivering front-line services to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society and an additional £18.75 million to the Growth Fund to boost the ability of lenders, such as credit unions and community development financial institutions, to make affordable loans to financially excluded customers. In addition it announced a consultation on the design and functions of a Social Investment Wholesale Bank to support the long-term growth of the third sector.

The Office of the Third Sector promotes all Government measures to support social enterprises through its website, its network of strategic partners, including the Social Enterprise Coalition, and through a series of regional road shows. Road shows include one in Cambridge at Abington Hall on Monday 8 June, and one in central London at the Abbey Community Centre in Westminster on Thursday 7 May.