By David Robinson
It has been absurd that there are tax breaks for risk capital investment and for charitable donations, but not for those who want to invest in enterprises run for a social purpose.
Many of these enterprises adopt a preventative approach. Social investment offers the opportunity to pay for the fence building at the top of the cliff without the need to divert money from the ambulance at the bottom. At its best it is one of the change mechanisms we need to become a society that prevents problems from occurring rather than one that struggles with the consequences.
Today the Chancellor has signalled his support for social investment. Now he must apply the same logic to the Spending Review. The Boston Consulting Group have estimated that the social investment market could be worth £750m by the time of the next election and it’s growing fast, but the government currently spend £377b on social issues. Also rethinking the way that this money is spent, protecting preventative spending in the same way as capital investment is protected, establishing 10 year plans and investing a higher proportion in need reduction is more than one way of achieving “sustainable public finances” – the Chancellor’s stated objective. In the current context of escalating need and diminishing resources it is probably the only way.
Find out more about the Early Action Task Force and read the recently published report
The Deciding Time: Prevent today, or pay tomorrow.