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Economy

Tax Relief for Social Investors Generates £3m for Good Causes

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investment by Nazir Amin via Flickr

A new report from think-tank NPC and Big Society Capital says £3.4 million has been provided to charities and social enterprises thanks to two years of Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR).

South Bristol Sports Centre is one of the most recent social enterprises to benefit from the tax break, having received £250,000 from the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund. The centre works with young people in one of the most deprived areas in Bristol and is using the investment to finance the construction of six five-a-side football pitches.

Ben Ferris, Director of South Bristol Sports Centre said:

“We engage young people via their passion for sports to help increase their confidence, skills and aspirations. The investment from the SITR Fund is supporting our growth and has provided a great opportunity to increase our provision for the local community.”

NPC’s paper published on Monday 4 July, found:

  • 30 projects have raised investment using SITR deals since April 2014.
  • On average these investments have raised capital of £100,000 for charitable causes, including in education, homelessness, heritage work and work in local communities.
  • The market has predominantly boosted organisations outside of London. Activity has focused on Scotland (a third of all projects) and the south west (one in five).
  • Over 170 investors have invested into SITR deals, significantly high net-worth individuals and angels.
  • An increasing number of retail investors — often members of the local community via community shares — are using SITR with the average investment size as low as £230.
  • NPC found that SITR has predominantly helped organisations with revenues under £500,000 a year.

Simon Rowell, Interim Head of Strategy and Market Development at Big Society Capital said:

The evidence is in – Social Investment Tax Relief is working.

“It’s encouraging to find that smaller charities and social enterprises have been able to navigate the tax relief rules and are already finding SITR to be a useful new tool to help them grow.

“The affordability of SITR products is highly promising. There are now big opportunities for investors to follow the early leaders and use their investment account to support charities social enterprises they believe in. Social Investment Tax Relief is now open for business.”

SITR is a relatively new tax break which offers individual investors 30% income tax relief on loans or equity investments made to charities and social enterprises. Big Society Capital has championed the SITR market through its GET IT campaign, and NPC’s paper is the first attempt to estimate the size and impact of that market.

Abi Rotheroe, NPC’s lead on social investment work and co-author of the new report, said:

“Tax relief for social investment has freed up some much-needed money in the last two years. An extra £3m for good causes is welcome news when charity finances are under so much pressure.

“So far, the relief has had an impact beyond the usual places. Investment has taken off especially in Scotland and the South West, a welcome indication that we can unlock big philanthropy without leaving the regions behind.”

The report highlights that future support for the further development of SITR will need to take into account two key barriers for charities and social enterprises: not having the expertise required to develop appropriate business plans and not knowing how to find investors.

Resources such as the DIY SITR guide from Matt Fountain, Founder of social enterprise The Freedom Bakery, offer advice and tips to help address these obstacles.

Charities and social enterprises can find out more about Social Investment Tax Relief and the GET IT campaign at www.bigsocietycapital.com/social-investment-tax-relief.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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