On hearing the news, Alain De Botton probably sank back in his chair and strummed his fingers. ‘The Church of England plans to take on the might of payday lender Wonga, by providing access to its assets and expertise to help boost Credit Unions’. ‘Excellent!’ is probably what he might have said, as this possibly proves his point that religion has a lot of good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies. But there’s a long way to go, as credit unions currently have less than 1 million members between them, whilst payday lenders made 8.2 million loans in the last year alone.
Speaking of blind faith and banking, the Coop Bank recently launched a Social Enterprise DirectPlus account, prompting the Guardian to list what other banks do for social enterprise. More than you probably think!
Speaking of cooperatives and money, the European Parliament has got round to recognising the contribution of cooperatives. Yes, it is 2013! In not-so-exciting but pertinent news, a motion has been adopted by the Industry, Research and Energy Committee for inclusion in the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan. Like Alain, you may be asking ‘what does it all mean?’ Well, this means that all measures proposed to promote entrepreneurship at national and European level will now apply to co-operatives too. So that’s clear then! This article also reveals that there is a dedicated unit within the DG Enterprise and Industry (whatever that is), who have calculated cooperatives contribution to EU recovery – more than 160,000 co-operatives owned by 123 million people provide 5.4 million jobs. Pretty impressive stuff!
There were also some interesting articles this week regarding transparency in charities. Firstly, this article argues that it’s right that charities shouldn’t be on the proposed register of lobbyists (seemingly ignoring this ‘research‘ which suggests there are plenty of charities which hide behind the status for lobbying purposes). The Telegraph also chipped in on a related issue – how much do the big charities spend on their charitable aims? This suggests that two – Age UK and the British Heart Foundation, spend less than half of their income on their charitable aims.
Lastly, the ever prolific David Floyd dissected the figures reported two weeks ago in the latest State of Social Enterprise report, suggesting that the fact there are more start-ups in the social enterprise sector may not be a good thing. It’s enough to shake your faith!