The Commission on Social Investment has called for the UK Government to “learn from Scotland” how to grow social enterprise infrastructure and schemes.
Over the last two years, the commission has investigated the state of the social investment market and how it could better enable the growth of social enterprises.
Commission Chair Lord Victor Adebowale praised the SNP Government’s “active social enterprise strategy”, explaining that the nation had a more flexible approach to developing products and utilising policies to support social enterprises.
The Commission Report furthermore reads:
“Of the devolved nations, Scotland has seemed to have the highest level of success in deploying investment into social enterprises in part because of the significant investment that the Scottish Government has put into infrastructure. This has enabled funds such as Social Investment Scotland to not only deploy investment but to stimulate demand”.
“Central government will have to step up, either directly or through others. This has been the approach taken in the nations of the United Kingdom, where the devolved governments in Wales and Scotland have taken a more active role in supporting local infrastructure.
“In Scotland, this approach had particularly paid off during the pandemic where a 0% loan fund for social enterprises to get through the lockdown of the economy was available within just ten days.This compares to the months that it took to get similar support measures off the ground in England.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP welcomed the report, saying:
“Now more than ever, social enterprise is a hugely important sector with a lot of untapped potential, and it’s great to see that Scotland is leading from the front thanks to SNP policy.
“The report notes that the SNP Government has been very active in its use of Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) to support social enterprises, with one fifth of all investments made through the tax break coming from Scotland.
“Scottish Ministers also created SIS (Social Investment Scotland) Ventures as a way to generate equity investment through schemes, such as SITR and the Catalyst Fund, to provide more growth finance for social enterprises.”
The report includes the recommendation that the UK Government develops a new UK-wide social investment strategy, respecting the devolution settlement and consulting with the SNP Government and other devolved administrations.
The full report can be downloaded via the Social Enterprise UK website.