2 February 2022

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

“We welcome the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper and the positive references to social enterprise, the social economy and social value. There are a number of policies that we want to take forward from channelling more dormant assets into growing the social enterprise sector to giving local communities a greater say over how local money is invested.”

“Whilst there are a number of good initiatives in the document, it looks like the government is still trying to work with one arm tied behind its back. The White Paper is clear that we need strong institutions and a shared vision to really transform communities, yet the biggest part of our economy – the private sector – comes through without any significant challenges to it or proposals to reform it. The short-termism of business and unwillingness to back places in times of economic difficulty is a major reason why we are in the situation we are in. It is the decisions of businesses over decades to underinvest in people and places that we need to reverse, and there is little in this White Paper to change that. Reform should not stop at the Council Room, it needs to go through to the Boardroom as well.”

“This is why we need to invest in social enterprises, a form of business which has proven itself to work in the toughest of markets and to have the staying power to truly transform lives and communities. We also need to reform UK plc so that businesses are required to buy social, to invest in local areas and balance their profits against the need of people and the planet. This is the only route to truly Levelling Up. I hope that this White Paper is the beginning of a journey towards realising that.”