Big Society ISA could boost social enterprise

| June 23, 2010
Big Society ISA could boost social enterprise

Savers could use their ISA funds to invest in social enterprise under the government’s plans for a Big Society Bank.

Money invested in the Big Society ISAs would be used to build new schools, to rehabilitate criminals, and for other socially useful projects.

The ISAs would provide a way for social enterprises to raise capital.

Lord Wei, the thinker behind the ISAs and the founder of Britain’s Teach First programme, said investment in social enterprise is vital for the future of the UK.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Wei said: “We have to ask ourselves the question as a society: do we want to be always putting all our money in the various pools that exist and put them totally into profit maximisation activity or do we want to find a blend?

“You will not get the same return as a classic high street mainstream Isa but people will be interested, especially if it creates a link between what I invest and what happens locally.”

However, Malcolm Hayday, CEO of Charity Bank, said the Big Society ISA is unlikely to change the practices of mainstream banks.

“We’ve seen no bank, with the possible exception of The Co-operative Bank, respond either to the existence of Charity Bank or Triodos Bank in the marketplace,” Hayday said.

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