'Big society' gets £600m cash injection

The creation of the fund suggests Mr Cameron has not given up on the 'big society' agenda, despite the departure of his author, Steve Hilton, from Downing Street.
The creation of the fund suggests Mr Cameron has not given up on the 'big society' agenda, despite the departure of his author, Steve Hilton, from Downing Street.

By Oliver Hotham

David Cameron pressed ahead with his 'big society' agenda today with a £600 million fund for charities and community groups, despite claims it was failing to resonate with the public.

The prime minister announced the creation of the Big Society Capital, which aims to social enterprises and voluntary groups to finance.

It will be funded by £400 million of money left unclaimed in bank accounts over 15 years, and £200 million given by high street banks Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS.


David Cameron said that the institutions which create economic growth will now be helping to create societal growth.

"Just as finance from the City has been essential to help businesses grow and take on the world, so finance from the City is going to be essential to helping tackle our deepest social problems," he said.

"Big Society Capital is going to encourage charities and social enterprises to prove their business models - and then replicate them.

"This is a self-sustaining, independent market that's going to help build the big society."

The new fund aims to give social entrepreneurs the tools they need to solve social issues, and boost the flow of capital into the social sector.

Labour's shadow minister for the cabinet office Jon Trickett said that the announcements were good news came too late:

"The government should not over claim at a time when over 70,000 jobs in the sector have been lost in the last year alone and too many charities are cutting back on the support they provide to individuals and communities as a result of the Tory-led government's cuts that go too far, too fast."

The creation of the fund suggests Mr Cameron has not given up on the 'big society' agenda, despite the departure of his author, Steve Hilton, from Downing Street.

Big Society Capital will be run independently from the government, with decision making being the job of an independent investments committee. 

Former JP Morgan executive Nick O'Donohoe will be chief executive.

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