It may have seemed on Monday that change was in the air, when all three main political parties reshuffled their junior ministers or cabinets. A key change within Labour of relevance to the sector was the appointment of Lisa Nandy as Shadow Charities Minister. She replaces Gareth Thomas, whose last act in post was to speak out in Parliament against the lobbying bill.
Plus ca change? Plus ca same. Despite his efforts, proposed amendments to the Lobbying Bill were defeated this week after it passed its third reading. MPs and campaigners had tried to get the bill diluted so that only activities with the ‘primary purpose’ of supporting an election candidate or party would full under it.
Stepping out the shadows was, ahem, Former Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey, who called for an increase in investment for social enterprise. As if his prayers had been answered, Big Society Capital revealed its put its hand down the back of the sofa and had a jiggle of its piggybank, and pulled out £181m in coppers and silvers. Lots ca change!
But before we all get too excited, the Big Lottery Fund’s new CEO offered sobering words on social investment. Dawn Austwick stressed that whilst she felt social investment was a better way to fund organisations, many foundations still allocate more resources to grants. Which turned out to be a pretty astute observation, as it emerged that only 10 foundations account for 90% of the social investments made by trusts and foundations.
That’s a pretty shocking concentration, though not as shocking as the fact that the wealthiest 32m people in the world own more than the poorest 4.3bn put together. Yes that’s 4.3 billion! Which wouldn’t all fit within the Square Mile.
The great and the good of impact investing probably could though, which is just as well, as the City of London hosted the Global Impact Investing Network Investor Forum this week. A key aim for the forum is sharing ‘the burden of social imperatives’ from the small group of social organisations currently trying to tackle social issues to the much larger group that is most businesses and organisations. I’d personally prefer it if the City of London wanted to share out some of its wealth, but it’s probably a different department. Zut alor!