Select Committee on Treasury Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Commission on Unclaimed Assets

  This memorandum responds to the Treasury Committee's concerns, and in particular those raised by George Mudie, from the hearing on 5 June, of the inquiry into Unclaimed assets (Qq 248-251).[28]

  From our research it is clear that the most disadvantaged are regarded as "hard to reach" and are often poorly served by both public and private sector services. Third sector organisations, either those set up by people from within disadvantaged communities, or those that provide services, are often more successful in these areas, having both more credibility and relevant products. These include community anchor organisations that play a crucial role in supporting people back into work in disadvantaged areas, and organisations such as TREES in the East Midlands, a social enterprise that runs successful construction and gas servicing businesses providing direct work opportunities for the long-term unemployed.

  The difficulty for many successful third sector organisations is that they lack the investment to build for the future and are reliant on short term revenue streams or insecure grant funding. Our proposal of a Social Investment Bank is designed to provide the necessary investment for such organisations. In order to do so, we believe it vital, through appropriate incentives to connect the third sector with mainstream finance and for social investment to become a mainstream activity. The Social Investment bank would be a small, entrepreneurial institution that would combine skills from the social and financial sectors. By acting as a wholesaler of capital to social investors including Community Development Financial Institutions and Credit Unions, it can enhance the capacity and penetration of present organisations and ensure that they properly serve a much greater number of those most at need.

  We believe that such investment would help turn the third sector into a much more powerful one, giving its organisations the managerial and financial strength to attract many more people into carers in social entrepreneurship. Not just the middle class people Mr Mudie suggested, but also those from under-served communities who feel emboldened to make a difference and who are, through the Social Investment Bank, given the tools to do so.

June 2007

28   Ev 34-35. Back

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