Minister Rob Wilson has been moved from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK has responded to this decision.
Holbrook said: “Social enterprises are businesses and need to be recognised as such by Government. We would like to see a breakaway unit for social enterprise, social investment and mutuals within the newly created Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Social enterprise needs to be firm in the minds of civil servants creating policies and campaigns to support Britain’s businesses, especially in light of Brexit.
Social enterprise has its roots in the third sector, but it has evolved, as has the landscape – the sector now encompasses social investment and mutuals.
“The broader sector needs policies that will help to drive its growth in the coming years to tackle the many social and environmental challenges facing local communities.
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“Former Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP, has been moved to the new business department, making him very well positioned to take a lead on social enterprise and investment at the new business department. His knowledge and support of the sector could help to make a new unit a viable option.
“We are, of course, incredibly grateful to Rob Wilson for his support since becoming the Minister for Civil Society. But from the outside looking in, it is difficult to see why civil society is being moved to the DCMS. It’s a curious move with potentially serious consequences for our sector’s future – there is a danger that the needs of social enterprises, social investors and mutuals will be side-lined. Other departments would have been a better fit, including the Cabinet Office, Treasury – or even the Department for Communities & Local Government.”