Investing in Localism: How Local Authorities Can Provide Good Finance for Community Business

Last year, Power to Change published Uncharted Investment, a research working paper that explored the sources of finance for community business. That work pointed towards a number of unexpected or previously underestimated sources, including lease finance, crowdfunding, equity finance – even credit cards and bank account overdrafts featured as part of the overall picture. Local authority lending was one of the sources of finance identified by the research, and this piqued the interest of the audience at a roundtable event we held to discuss the working paper findings. To probe this further, we commissioned Social Finance to explore the extent to which local authorities were borrowing from the public purse in order to lend to community businesses or social enterprises. This working paper draws together their findings and reflections on the future potential of this funding source.