• One of the UK’s largest businesses – the Co-operative Group – has called on Chancellor to make sure that social enterprises and cooperatives are given a helping hand to kick start the national recovery.
  • 1,000 businesses, social enterprises and cooperatives have signed up to a letter calling on the Chancellor to help their businesses or risk choking off the recovery.
  • Tens of thousands of social businesses still falling through the cracks due to a lack of action.
  • One million jobs, including over 200,000 in the poorest communities, are at risk of the next two months.

Over 900 businesses, including one of the UK’s biggest businesses the Co-op Group, have called on the Chancellor to provide more support to social enterprises and cooperatives or risk choking off the UK recovery to COVID-19. Research shows half the social sector could run out of money by June without further action putting up to 1m jobs at risk, over 200,000 in the poorest communities.

Social enterprises, co-operatives and community businesses are continue to fall between the cracks of the current government schemes to support businesses through Covid-19. Despite working in the UK’s most deprived communities, employing vulnerable people and delivering critical health and care services during this pandemic, social entrepreneurs are being refused support while billions have been given out in grants to other businesses, including the UK’s casinos, betting shops and takeaway restaurants.

There are 100,000 social enterprises, which include co-operatives, in the UK contributing £60bn to the economy and employing 2 million people.

Commenting on the campaign, Steve Murrells, Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group said:

“Co-operatives and social enterprises have been critical to the wellbeing of local communities for years. They’re needed even more in this current crisis but some need a helping hand themselves to get though the emergency. With their fair share of Government support today, they can be there to help kick start the national recovery tomorrow.”

Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK said:

“Hundreds of social businesses, including some of our biggest, recogniser that we need to start laying the foundations for our recovery now. To bounce back quickly from COVID-19 we need our cooperatives and social enterprises to survive so that they can kick start our local economies once the lockdown is lifted.”

“Good businesses are days and weeks away from closure without additional action. The loss of these businesses will slow down our recovery, disadvantage our most vulnerable people and hold back our poorest communities. I hope that the Chancellor will listen to UK business which are urging him to adapt his plans so that we can contribute to the national recovery.”

Social enterprises continue to report being denied business grants and loans due to restrictive criteria and inappropriate rules governing loan requirements. This is despite the fact that the government has distributed £15bn in loans to businesses which trade solely for profit.

Businesses have signed a letter to the Chancellor calling for:

  • Expanded Business Grants for small social enterprises and cooperatives, particularly those working in deprived communities or with vulnerable workers;
  • Blended finance/zero-interest loans for larger social enterprises and cooperatives;
  • Access to additional statutory funding for social enterprises and cooperatives to cover COVID-19 costs in delivering public services;
  • Bespoke business support for social enterprises and cooperatives to deliver Covid-19 Business Adaptation Support.

In total this support package will cost in £45million per year in total, a fraction of the UK social enterprise sector’s £60bn contribution to the economy.


  • A copy of the letter and list of businesses signing the letter being sent to the Chancellor or more information please email Andrew O’Brien (andrew.obrien@socialenterprise.org.uk) or call 07889129971.
  • The supporters of this campaign are: Co-operatives UK, Community Leisure UK, Locality, Plunkett Foundation, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise UK, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, Social Value UK and UnLtd.
  • Social enterprises are falling between different aspects of government support. Most social enterprises are not getting access to Small Business Grants – despite being our most deserving businesses. Commercial business loans are often not appropriate for our businesses which work in broken markets or where margins are small.