No social investment bank yet

Cabinet Office minister turns down plea from Tories to set up a social investment bank at once

Cabinet Office minister Liam Byrne has rejected a call to provide more funding for social enterprise by the immediate establishment of a social investment bank using unclaimed assets in bank accounts.

In a parliamentary debate this week, Byrne turned down a plea from Francis Maude, his Conservative shadow, to provide more funding for social enterprises.

The Government's conversations with the banks had been made more complicated by the credit crunch, said Byrne. "But I am determined to ensure our conversations about the creation of a social investment bank do not get lost in that wider set of ambitions," he said.

Byrne also rejected Tory calls to set up social enterprise zones in deprived areas because, he said, there was insufficient funding.

He added: "I do not agree with the notion that we should somehow cut the Cabinet Office budget by £100m. That would close down 400,000 volunteering opportunities and about 2,500 small local charities across the country that rely on our support."

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