Miliband praises impact of social enterprise, but says sector must be taken seriously

Miliband praises impact of social enterprise, but says sector must be taken seriously
by Gemma Hampson, Social Enterprise Live

‘You are an incredibly important sector’
Labour leader Ed Miliband, pictured at last night’s Social Enterprise Awards Social enterprise can have an impact on the private sector and change the public sector, but it needs to be taken seriously, Labour leader Ed Miliband said at last night’s Social Enterprise Awards.

The former third sector minister made his comments at a ceremony at London’s O2 following a jam-packed Voice 11, the annual conference from the Social Enterprise Coalition. The event drew many prestigious minister speakers, including business secretary Vince Cable, cabinet office Minister Francis Maude, civil society minister Nick Hurd and former communities secretary in the Labour government Hazel Blears.

For Miliband, he said attending the event was ‘like coming home to family’ and stressed his party’s support for social enterprise.

‘Social enterprise does amazing things,’ he said.

‘It can have an impact across the private sector. It changes the public sector. It says crucially that organisations should be owned by the people in them and these people should have a voice. Monolithic organisations is an old fashioned idea. You are an incredibly important sector.’

Miliband continued that social enterprise needed recognition for the impact it could have on public services in tough economic times.

He said cuts meant greater difficulties for organisations working in the public sector because of demands for greater efficiency and the effect on people and resources.

‘It’s increasingly important in the public sector that we fight against that and demand social enterprise be taken seriously,’ he said.

Miliband also stressed that he wanted Labour to have a ‘continuing relationship’ with social enterprise and admitted that it was social enterprises that he found ‘most inspiring’ during his days as third sector minister, mentioning Belu – an eco bottled water company – among a host of names.