Scots' social sector fillip

Social enterprises have welcomed proposals from the Scottish Executive to boost their role in delivering public services.

Last week the executive announced plans for a three-year action plan, which will include funding from the planned Scottish Investment Fund (Third Sector Online, 27 June).

Aidan Pia, executive director of the Scottish social enterprise network Senscot, said: "It's good to see the executive's intention to build a strong social enterprise sector in Scotland. There appears to be recognition of the potential of the sector, but there is a clear need for investment. It will be interesting to see what form the Scottish Investment Fund will take."

Antonia Swinson, chief executive of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, said priorities for the action plan should include "how the sector can access consistent and appropriate business support and a more diverse range of finance".

John Swinney, the executive's cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth, said social enterprises had shown they could work in many sectors of the economy and were often able to provide the best solutions when other providers had failed.

"We will look to create a three-year action plan to help social enterprises reach their potential as deliverers of services," he said. "The executive is committed to investing in social enterprise through a Scottish Investment Fund."

Swinney said that the executive was also conducting a review of Futurebuilders Scotland, with a view to introducing a successor programme.

The executive is yet to release further details about the action plan or the proposed fund.

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