This letter first appeared in City AM
The government recently ran a public consultation on how best to use almost £1bn of dormant assets residing in the UK financial system for good causes. As the leading organisations representing UK business, we believe these precious resources should be targeted to give communities a hand up, not a hand out.
The best way to do this is by giving local entrepreneurs access to the finance and support they need to grow businesses whilst tackling our most challenging social problems, often in places where standard forms of investment are hard to secure. Thriving, sustainable businesses build the strong, vibrant, and flourishing communities we want to live in.
The government should do this by investing dormant assets into the Community Enterprise Growth Plan. This is the first coordinated approach to providing finance and support to community-based businesses, social enterprises, and local charities across the UK, building on existing social investment systems.
For a government that has restated its commitment to levelling up, the plan is a smart way to deliver real growth and create jobs in communities most affected by long-term economic decline. An investment of £500m in the Plan over ten years would unlock at least the same amount of private capital. We urge the government to allocate dormant assets to social investment to grow community enterprise for the future.
Shevaun Haviland, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
Jonathan Geldart, Director General, Institute of Directors
Martin McTague, National Chair, Federation of Small Businesses