Government announces £18m for enterprise plan

The Government has pledged to introduce social enterprise to the national curriculum, appoint a fleet of enterprise ambassadors to act as role models and give nearly £18m to help enterprise development under the Social Enterprise Action Plan.

Chancellor Gordon Brown, social exclusion minister Hilary Armstrong and third sector minister Ed Miliband launched the plan last week with enterprise leaders such as Liam Black, director of Jamie Oliver's social enterprise Fifteen.

The Chancellor promised a £10m enterprise start-up fund and a further £5.9m to enable regional development agencies to improve the business support available to social enterprises.

The Government will also give £2.4m to raise the profile of organisations that represent social enterprises at a national level, and encourage social enterprises to have an increased role in public service provision.

Brown promised to announce a review in his next Budget of how Community Investment Tax Relief could be improved to work better for social enterprises.

"Our job is to learn from you, the social enterprises, about market faults that exist and how to take action," he said.

Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, who sat on the action plan working group, was positive about it but said the £10m fund was not enough on its own.

"What it ought to do is to pave the way for more public investment, which could then lever in private investment," he said. "The challenge is for the officials in the Treasury and Cabinet Office to work out some firm proposals to take these ideas forward."

- See Letters, page 15.

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