In July the UK Government launched a consultation into the design and functions of a Social Investment Wholesale Bank. The consultation period will close this week on October 7.
The government is hoping the result will be a new breed of financial institution – a bank with the primary purpose of investing in society, the environment and the economy. This unique bank would be a world first as it would invest against a triple bottom line of economic growth, social cohesion and sustainable development.
The consultation presented a range of possible functions for the bank, such as attracting money from other investors, and helping raise funds for existing social investors. It could be designed to be independent of government, regularly reporting its social, financial and environmental impact, and working with other investors wherever possible.
The consultation is part of Building Britain’s Future, the Government’s plan to work with the British people to respond to the economic downturn and together build a stronger, fairer and more prosperous country. Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, Cabinet Office, and Stephen Timms Financial Secretary to the Treasury, formally launched the consultation on 15 July 2009.
Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, Cabinet Office: “There is a huge public appetite for social responsibility, especially in areas like finance. This consultation is an exciting step on the road towards a Social Investment Wholesale Bank. I look forward to hearing evidence and views on how this bank would work with and for our third sector to ensure that charities, voluntary groups, social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals grow stronger and are in a better financial position to lead the way in building Britain’s future.”