Celebrating Walthamstow’s Social Enterprises

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On #SocialEnterpriseDay, I turn my attention to the Social Enterprises of Walthamstow.

Social enterprises are organisations that operate as a commercial business, but with aims that go beyond profit, mostly even operating in a non-profit capacity. Their primary goal is to support social, financial or environmental improvements in the local community.

“Social enterprises employ around two million people and contribute £60 billion to our economy. This makes the contribution of UK social enterprises to GDP three times larger than the agricultural sector.”

Social Enterprise UK

In Walthamstow and Waltham Forest, we have our fair share of these social enterprises. You can find out more about social enterprises and a handful of those we have here, at
https://www.socialenterprise.org.uk and https://www.socialenterprisemark.org.uk.

As social enterprises operate as small businesses, the Green Party manifesto contains a number of boosts to social enterprises.

Our plans for Universal Basic Income and 4 day weeks could potentially allow community-minded individuals the flexibility to contribute their time to social enterprises.

In addition, our focus on transforming our economy to make it work for the wellbeing of people and our environment should result in easing the pressure on social enterprises who may currently carry the burden delivering what our government should provide as a basic right.

The Green plan for a small business revolution will:

  • Give small businesses access to lending at affordable rates, by helping to establish a network of regional mutual banks. These new banks will be created specifically to provide funding for locally-led economic initiatives and opportunities, including cooperatives, community interest companies and other non-profit businesses.
  • Further free up funding by introducing credit guidance for traditional banks, requiring them to increase their lending to small businesses and businesses focussed on the sustainability transition.
  • Grant 15% of government contracts to small and micro-businesses. We will revise the government contract application process, to remove the current barriers for entry to small business. We will encourage local authorities to adopt this model with their own contracts.
  • Require businesses to publish and report the difference between agreed payment days and actual payment days. We will introduce fines for large companies that fail to pay small businesses on time.
  • Support small business to work with employees to adopt full workplace rights.
  • Create new support for entrepreneurs and small business owners from BME backgrounds.
  • Increase the Employment Allowance to £10,000 (currently just £3,000) per year, allowing small businesses which employ people to claim back the equivalent National Insurance of four full-time workers earning the average salary. This tax cut will benefit hundreds of thousands of small businesses, allowing them to hire more people, increase wages or reduce prices.
  • Promote and support an increase in co-operatives and community interest companies. Education about these forms of communal enterprise would start in school.
  • Roll out high-speed broadband.

Social enterprises of Walthamstow, I thank you for all the work you do!

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