OTS launches Social Investment Wholesale Bank consultation

OTS launches Social Investment Wholesale Bank consultation
Cabinet Office

The Office of the Third Sector is today publishing a Consultation on a Social Investment Wholesale Bank which sets out the vision, the economic case and consults on proposals for the design and functions of a potential bank. This consultation, announced in Budget 2009, is part of Building Britain’s Future, the Government’s plan to work with the British people to respond to the economic downturn and together build a stronger, fairer and more prosperous country. The results will inform substantive proposals to be developed by the Office of the Third Sector.

Government recognises the important role played by the third sector including social enterprises – as sustainable businesses with a social or environmental mission they contribute significantly to stronger local economies and a fairer society. Yet access to appropriate funding and finance is often the single biggest concern facing organisations driven by social or environmental purpose. A Social Investment Wholesale Bank could help enable third sector organisations to access the finance they need to grow and become more sustainable.

More broadly, the Bank could help increase investment in society, the environment and the economy at the same time, delivering against a ‘triple bottom line’ of more effective interaction between greater economic growth, social cohesion and sustainable development.

•Social Investment Wholesale Bank consultation document [PDF, 320KB, 37 pages]
Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector said:

“There is a huge public appetite for social responsibility, especially in areas like finance, and that’s why I am absolutely delighted to launch this consultation on the Social Investment ‘Wholesale’ Bank.

“The launch of this consultation is an exciting step on the road towards a Social Investment Wholesale Bank. I look forward to hearing evidence and views on how this bank would work with and for our third sector to ensure that charities, voluntary groups, social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals grow stronger and are in a better financial position to lead the way in building Britain’s future.”

Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

“A strong and growing third sector needs a resilient and sustainable source of finance. Earlier this year, we announced a £42.5m economic action plan to support the third sector through the downturn. But we also understand the importance of investing in the long-term future of the sector.

“This consultation represents an important opportunity to explore the concept of a Social Investment Wholesale Bank, and the role it could play in developing and adding value to the social investment market in a sustainable way. Such an institution could help deliver the Government’s commitment to supporting fair markets and to building the financial sustainability in the third sector that will allow it to grow and thrive.”