News story

Prime Minister unveils Big Society Capital

David Cameron launches the world's first ever social investment builder.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Big Society Capital - a groundbreaking £600 million institution - has been launched by the Prime Minister today. The unveiling of Big Society Capital is an important milestone in the Government’s drive to grow the economy and build a bigger, stronger society.

Big Society Capital will be capitalised with a total of £600 million. An estimated £400 million of this will come from unclaimed cash left dormant in bank accounts for over 15 years and £200 million will come from the UK’s four largest high street banks Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS.

Big Society Capital will grow the social investment market which blends financial return with positive social impact. It will do this through the development of socially orientated investment organisations that support charities and social enterprises that have the ability to repay an investment through the income they generate.

The Prime Minister said:

For years, the City has been associated with providing capital to help businesses to expand. Today, this is about supplying capital to help society expand. 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.

Big Society Capital is going to encourage charities and social enterprises to prove their business models - and then replicate them. Once they’ve proved that success in one area they’ll be able - just as a business can - to seek investment for expansion into the wider region and into the country.

This is a self-sustaining, independent market that’s going to help build the Big Society.” 

Sir Ronald Cohen Chair of Big Society Capital said:

What we’ve done for business entrepreneurs we must now do for social entrepreneurs. We must give them the resources to innovate in the way we resolve social issues. Big Society Capital aims to transform the flow of capital into the social sector and to boost significantly its ability to improve people’s lives.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said:

This is a time when we need to be doing more to back our social entrepreneurs. For many years, charities and social enterprises have been telling Government how hard it is to access long term capital. We have listened and within two years have delivered a new institution that will make it easier.

The social investment market is embryonic but it is real and we intend to grow it. As a result, savers in this country will have more opportunities to invest for good and back charities, social enterprises and community groups who want to make a positive difference.

Big Society Capital is an organisation run independently from the Government with decisions around investments being made by an impartial investment committee. It will play a critical role in speeding up the growth of the social investment market.

External site: Big Society Capital

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Published 4 April 2012