PM defends Big Society

DAVID CAMERON will today launch a defence of his Big Society plans, as the government opens a new bank for charitable causes.

The prime minister will tell social entrepreneurs in a speech today: “The Big Society is my mission in politics.”

“Let me make one thing absolutely clear: I’m not going to back down from what I believe in just because of a few bad headlines.”

His defence comes as cabinet office minister Francis Maude launches the Big Society Bank, a key plank of the prime minister’s plans to engineer a social investment market.

The bank will have an initial capitalisation of up to £300m and will serve to encourage investors to plough funds into charities and social projects.

Funded by £100m of cash from dormant accounts and an additional £200m given by the UK’s largest banks, it will use its balance sheet to co-invest, underwrite or guarantee investments along with private sources of capital.

Maude will today say: “The Big Society Bank will massively expand finance for social ventures, creating a new source of finance alongside philanthropy and public service contracts. It’s unthinkable for businesses to grow and thrive without capital finance but this has too often been the reality for charities and social enterprises.”