News story

UK government welcomes social impact investment report

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

The report recognises how social investment helps address society’s most difficult problems and calls for more action to grow the market.

Social investment means providing finance to generate social and financial returns. It helps social enterprises to fund innovation and grow, and it provides investors another way of supporting social change while getting a return on their money.

The Taskforce on Social Impact Investment was established during the UK’s Presidency of the G8. Its Chair, Sir Ronald Cohen, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon George Osborne launched the taskforce report in Downing Street, London. View photos from the event.

The report calls on governments and the philanthropic and financial sectors to do more to encourage investment into the social sector.

UK report

A group of leading UK social investment experts, supporting the Taskforce, have also set out their vision for developing the UK social investment market. Their report, Building a social impact investment market: The UK experience, includes a summary of how the UK became the most advanced social investment market in the world.

The UK is seen as a global leader on social business and investment. Recent estimates suggest that

  • the UK market here is growing by 24% each year
  • £1 billion of social investment may be needed by UK social enterprises and charities by 2016

The UK is seen as a global hub for achieving social impact at scale:

  • socially minded businesses make up 15% of UK small and medum enterprises (SMEs)
  • the UK is building the most attractive environment in the world for ‘impact investors’, people who invest to make a social impact

The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said:

The UK is a world leader when it comes to building a social investment market. From introducing a tax relief for social investors to establishing the social investment bank Big Society Capital, we have demonstrated our commitment to this game-changing market which has the potential to deliver enormous benefits to society and the economy. We welcome this report and look forward to addressing its recommendations.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

Supporting economic development in the world’s poorest countries is the only sustainable way to end dependency on aid and impact investment is an important way of doing this.

The DFID Impact Fund is growing the market for investment – providing vital employment and stable incomes as well as access to affordable goods and basic services. The taskforce report sets out an excellent way forward to build prosperous societies.

Minister for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith said:

Through the DWP Innovation Fund we have been backing social impact bonds as a way to help transform the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people in society. Growing the social investment market lends itself well to tackling societal problems in innovative ways.

Find out more about support for the report across the world through this Storify about the report.

About the taskforce

In June 2013 David Cameron, as Chair of the G8, launched an independent Social Impact Investment Taskforce to report on “catalyzing a global market in impact investment” to improve society. The UK Cabinet Office has acted as secretariat to the taskforce. Find out more about the taskforce and its members.