Surge in number of community interest companies

The number of community interest companies in the UK has risen by more than 500 per cent in the past year, according to the Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies.

There are now 643 registered CICs, compared with 100 in January 2006.

This rise has far exceeded expectations. When the concept of creating CICs was first debated in the House of Commons, ministers anticipated that between 100 and 300 would be registered each year.

The fastest development of CICs has been in the social services sector, followed by the property and education sectors.

John Hanlon, the CIC regulator, said: "My aim was for CICs to stimulate the imagination so that social entrepreneurship would permeate every aspect of society.

"Given the diversity of activities and the broad spectrum of communities being reached, I have not been disappointed.

"CICs are providing real and tangible benefits to communities throughout the UK."

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