Growing the social investment market


There are many social entrepreneurs who are inspired to help improve the lives of people across the UK. They lead organisations and work hard to find long-term solutions for difficult social problems through social enterprises. It’s important that we support their work and help them to achieve even more.

We can make it easier for these social enterprises to grow and become stronger by making it easier for them to get hold of funding. We’ll achieve this by growing the social investment market.

Social investment is finance that generates social, or social as well as economic, returns.


To grow the market we must:

  • increase the amount of money available for social investment
  • increase the demand for social investment
  • create an environment that encourages social investment opportunities

We will continue to remove rules and regulations that stop social investment through the Red Tape Challenge and increase the number of social investment opportunities for social entrepreneurs through:

We have introduced a social investment tax relief to give investors in qualifying social organisations a reduction in their income tax bill.

The government is working to make the UK a global hub for the social investment market.

Watch an overview of the social investment market and how the government supports it:

Social investment: an overview


Growing the social investment market helps move forward public service reforms, and is an important part of the vision for a big society: moving power from government and into the hands of people and the community.

‘Growing the social investment market: a vision and strategy’ was published in February 2011. It set out government’s intentions to grow the social investment market. The Social Investment Readiness Charter shows the government’s commitment to building an effective social investment market.

Read the annual progress updates to ‘Growing the social investment market’. See also a presentation on our progress in growing the UK market for social investment.

Bills and legislation

The Public Services (Social Value) Act introduces new requirements for government (commissioners) when deciding where to award contracts for public services. Commissioners must now first consider how they can improve the social impact of their public service contracts before they start the procurement process, and consider consulting on the services to be procured.

Cabinet Office worked with a number of partners, including Social Enterprise UK and the City of London, to set up a Buy Social directory. This will help commissioners to find social enterprises that provide goods or services they need.

Who we’re working with

The Cabinet Office is taking part in the international Social Impact Investment Taskforce, which was announced at the G8 Social Impact Investment Forum.

The Big Lottery Fund runs the Social Incubator Fund on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

Big Society Capital is an independent organisation set up by the Cabinet Office. It manages £600 million to help create a sustainable social investment market.