Social Enterprises: Coronavirus

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Government's business support package for social enterprises.

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to support social enterprises during the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to increase access to finance for (a) social enterprises and (b) co-operatives during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

The government recognises the vital work social enterprises and co-operatives are doing to support communities and ease demands on public services in light of Covid-19. In recognising this, we have put in place a number of emergency measures to support these organisations during this time.

The government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been made available to social enterprises and co-operatives. This scheme will provide lenders with a government-backed guarantee of 80% on each loan, ensuring eligible social enterprises and co-operatives gain access to crucial finance with no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. Big Society Capital has established and capitalised a Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund which aims to improve access to CBILS for social enterprises. The initiative has been enabled by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) accelerating the release of previously committed dormant bank accounts money.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is also available to social enterprises and co-operatives. This scheme allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80% of a furloughed employee's wages. Many organisations are already accessing this support measure.

Additionally, the government announced a £750 million support package earlier this month for charities. A number of social enterprises that are delivering vital work during the coronavirus outbreak will be eligible to apply for this support package.

Over the coming weeks and months, the government will monitor and evaluate the support that has been provided to social enterprises and co-operatives, and it continues to consider what else can be done. This includes examining further initiatives around access to finance for social enterprises and cooperatives.

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