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Letter to the FT: Time to unlock investment in community enterprises

Peter Foster cites evidence to show that England’s poorest areas are those least supported by charities (Report, August 8). That’s just one of the reasons why the work of social enterprises is so vital. Analysis by the Social Investment Forum finds that 43 per cent of social investment deals have gone to so-called levelling up priority 1 areas, totalling £520mn across nearly 2,000 deals.

The government has recently launched a consultation on how best to use the almost £1bn of dormant assets residing in the UK financial system. The scheme has already brought to life over £800mn of investment in positive change across the UK and recipient organisations are delivering jobs — growing staff numbers by 50 per cent on average within three years — while addressing complex social and economic problems in their communities.

Alongside investment in a community wealth fund to more aggressively tackle regional inequalities, a new community enterprise growth plan would create further jobs, boost growth and support levelling up by unlocking new investment for community enterprises — the community-based businesses, social enterprises and trading charities taking entrepreneurial approaches to tackling social problems.

A new prime minister will soon be trying to tackle a formidable range of challenges. Putting dormant assets to optimal use through social enterprises would be a smart place to start.

Nick Hurd Chair,

Access — The Foundation for Social Investment, London EC4, UK

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