HM Government is running a 12-week consultation on the future use of dormant assets, closing on 9th October 2022.
The existing Dormant Assets Scheme, established in 2011, enables banks and building societies to channel funds from dormant bank and building society accounts towards good causes. The existing Dormant Assets Scheme released £800 million for specified causes including Fair 4All Finance, the Youth Futures Foundation and social investment. Most notably it saw the birth of Big Society Capital and generated the growth of the UK social investment market.
The scheme is set to be expanded later this year, and it is expected that a further £880 million will be released for good causes.
The Community Enterprise Growth Plan
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) has joined a coalition of sector partners to support the inclusion of social investment as a cause of the expanded Dormant Assets Scheme in England. Together we have developed the Community Enterprise Growth Plan, which would channel funds from Dormant Assets to enterprises with a social purpose in places and communities that have been deprived of investment in the past.
Access to finance remains a critical issue for social enterprises and charities.
- SEUK research showed that a third of all social enterprises (34%) have applied for external funding or finance in the past 12 months, significantly higher than the same amount for other SMEs (10%). There is significant evidence that social enterprises and trading charities need access to investment.
- As the independent Commission on Social Investment, chaired by Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, concluded: ‘social enterprises in the regions and nations of the United Kingdom have been underserved by social investment as well as disadvantaged groups, such as Black-led social enterprises’.
- Over one third of social enterprises supported by SSE are based in the 20% most deprived areas of the UK. Social enterprises are driven by their passion to lead social change, often operating in challenging markets where economic activity, infrastructure and support is needed to catalyse growth.
In response to this need, a coalition of investors, entrepreneurs, and voluntary/community representative bodies communities – including the School for Social Entrepreneurs – have come together to develop proposals for a Community Enterprise Growth Plan.
The Community Enterprise Growth Plan would support organisations that solve local social and economic problems, help foster renewed civic pride and protect against the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. It would also use the social investment infrastructure built over the last ten years in new ways, widening and deepening access to tools and support that community enterprises need to sustain or grow their impact. The main elements are:
- Extending the availability of small, flexible affordable loans to smaller community enterprises through blended finance. This would include start-up funding for a £50m Black-led social investment fund as recommended by the recent Adebowale Commission on Social Investment.
- Improving access to finance for promising community enterprises and small businesses that struggle to access lending from mainstream banking by investing in in non-profit community lenders.
- Introducing Match Trading to enhance the reach of dormant assets in levelling up areas and providing associated business support to catalyse growth.
In conclusion, with Match Trading, SSE will be creating growth via an accountable and responsible grant by helping entrepreneurs to grow and matching their growth with a grant. The more their social enterprise grows, the more they earn, ultimately leading to more social change.
It is a sustainable, inclusive and rewarding method that provides resilience, independence and empowerment.
We have an acute awareness of how policy decisions and external influences can affect how you run and develop your social enterprise.
SSE is supporting the Community Enterprise Growth Plan because we believe it would create the conditions for social enterprises to thrive, particularly in places and communities that have been deprived of investment in the past. We have seen first-hand how social enterprises, when given support and a helping hand, can transform the communities in which they live and work.
Within the Community Enterprise Growth Plan, we believe that Match Trading has a critical role to play, providing the missing piece of the social investment jigsaw in communities where needs are highest.
Anyone can access and add a response to the consultation – it is ongoing until 9th October.
Head to the Community Enterprise Growth Plan resource page for further information and for an advice and support guide – Resources | Community Enterprise.
SEUK has also prepared a template to support their members to respond.
 At SSE, we believe that social investment in its broad sense, providing “financial and other support to third sector organisations” as referenced in the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008, has a critical role to play in meeting this need for finance.