News special: Social Enterprise Day - An action plan to 'boost social enterprise culture'

Helen Warrell

Whitehall policy makers have promised that the Social Enterprise Action Plan will help to engage a new generation of social entrepreneurs and bring the idea of ethical businesses into the mainstream.

The plan, which will be launched tomorrow by Chancellor Gordon Brown with Cabinet Office ministers Hilary Armstrong and Ed Miliband, is expected to focus on breeding an enhanced culture of social enterprise in Britain, providing specialised networks for business advice and improving social enterprises' access to finance.

There may also be measures to help social enterprises play a greater role in public service delivery.

Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said his key wish was that the Government would promote social enterprise as a distinct business model.

"We hope there will be some results on access to finance and greater support opportunities for local authorities and public bodies looking to work with social enterprises," Bland said. "Social enterprise can play a huge role in health, regeneration and climate change. Projects such as wind farms can create local employment and more community wealth."

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Social Enterprise London, said she would like the plan to include a "much more defined role" for social enterprise in the delivery of the Olympics. She is also pressing the Government to introduce tax breaks for social enterprises.

But Geoff Walker, chief executive of Sandwell Community Caring Trust, said Social Enterprises were still left off tender lists.

"We need to get local authorities to look at social enterprise and understand that they could deliver high-quality services at significant savings," he said.

- See Newsmaker, page 11.

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