Hot takes: social economy leaders react to UK general election announcement

“Fresh momentum”, “great opportunity”, “on a mission”: UK social impact organisations, including Social Enterprise UK, Better Society Capital and the Impact Investing Institute, share first reactions to announcement of 4 July general election.

Here it is, the announcement that everyone in the UK was waiting for dropped on Wednesday afternoon: under pouring rain, British PM Rishi Sunak called a snap general election, to take place on 4 July. We asked some of the UK’s leading impact organisations for their first reactions to the news. This is what they had to say:


Social Enterprise UK:

Dan Gregory Social Enterprise UK“The prime minister said when calling this election that economic stability is the bedrock of any future success, while the leader of the opposition promises to reset the economy. Social enterprises, co-operatives, community and employee-owned businesses are already on a mission to help build a stronger, fairer, more sustainable economy. We’re campaigning with 30 partners in the Future Economy Alliance to make sure the next government recognises the power of our movement and enacts the bold reforms needed to unleash the full potential of mission-led business.” 

Dan Gregory, SEUK director (pictured) 

  • Social Enterprise UK is a membership body and research organisation that represents social enterprises in Britain.


Better Society Capital: 

“Better Society Capital will be continuing to work with all political parties in establishing social impact investment as a key tool for a future government to tackle issues spanning NHS waiting lists to youth unemployment. We will focus our asks on the following:

1.    Spend smarter: crowd in more social impact investment so that taxpayers’ money goes further.

2.    Put people at the heart: shift public service commissioning to outcomes so that additional funding can be harnessed to pay for genuine positive and measurable change to people’s lives

3.    Integrate social impact across government [with a strategy] driven by a central team in the Cabinet Office or Treasury.” 

Tess Godley, policy and advocacy director.

  • Better Society Capital is the UK’s wholesale social investor . It is funded by money held into dormant accounts.


Impact Investing institute:

“We’re excited to see what fresh momentum can be brought to the vital job of working with private impact capital to help solve the big challenges a new government will face – from delivering a just energy transition, to improving outcomes for the most underserved communities across the UK.” 

Bella Landymore, executive director

  • The Impact Investing Institute is a think-tank promoting impact investing in the UK and beyond. It is also a regional partner of global network GSG Impact.


Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party (source: Keir Starmer, Flickr)


Access Foundation for Social Investment:

Seb Elsworth“Despite the noise that comes with any election campaign, this is a great opportunity to promote social investment and social enterprise to candidates across the political spectrum. Politicians should embrace our proven solutions that drive investment and growth in communities hit hardest by long-term economic decline. Any incoming government, especially in a tight fiscal environment, should be thinking about the role of blended finance in leveraging private and philanthropic funds to deliver real tangible change at pace.” 

– Seb Elsworth, CEO (pictured)


Responsible Finance:

Theodora Hadjimichael“Whatever the outcome of the next election, the next government must support under-represented communities and grow local and social economies. Community development finance institutions do just that and a Fair Banking Act, and the other measures we proposed in this week’s impact report, would fill finance gaps and unlock new opportunities.”

Theodora Hadjimichael, chief executive (pictured)

  • Responsible Finance represents UK community development finance institutions, which provide loans to social entrepreneurs, community businesses and households which would not otherwise be able to access mainstream finance.


School for Social Entrepreneurs:

"When policy makers are exploring interventions to rejuvenate and catalyse economic activity in these cold spots they need to do so realistically. Often there's intergenerational dependency, [a] very low skills base and very low money circulation… The solutions are under our nose; we need brave policymakers to scale up the resourcing of these interventions at pace and ambitiously." 

– Alastair Wilson, CEO



“The election comes at a time of record pressures on public services. A new government should put collaboration, quality, and public benefit at the heart of how services are delivered by recognising the social enterprise difference and addressing the barriers which social enterprises, co-operatives, mutuals, leisure trusts, employee-owned businesses and trading charities face to delivering services.” 

– Jonathan Bland, founder and leader

  • E3M is an initiative run by Social Business International to support the growth and impact of social enterprises that trade in public service markets.


Get in touch to share your thoughts about the upcoming UK general election.


Top image: Number 10 on Flickr


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