UK – Social investment bank Big Society Capital has called for more government support to social investments.

In a response to the UK government's proposals for social investment tax relief, it said the government should ensure simple investment products are eligible, including unsecured loans, and increase the size of eligible investment into social sector organisations.

It also argued that the government should extend the range of permitted indirect investment schemes to include venture capital trust-like schemes and permit investment into SIBs.

Big Society Capital believes the scope of the tax relief should not be narrowly focused but relevant to a wide range of social sector organisations and social investment products and tailored to the products in the greatest need by social sector organisations.

The government proposals would exclude tax relief for SIBs, just at a point where the opportunity exists to stimulate a market that is starting to show success, Big Society Capital said.

To date, 14 SIBs have been issued in the UK, with the potential for many more in the near future, it added.

Nick O'Donohoe, chief executive at Big Society Capital, said: "The government's commitment to establish a social investment tax relief is a timely initiative with the potential to transform the social investment market.

"For the social investment market's next phase of growth, individual investors are vital, and tax relief is a proven policy lever that can drive this.

"With the right incentives, individual investors could invest up to £480m (€363m) in social sector organisations over the next five years.

"However, getting the terms of the tax relief right will be essential, and there are some critical issues that still need to be addressed if it is to be effective."

Big Society Capital's detailed response to the consultation is available here.

In other news, the German sustainability forum FNG has questioned the big political parties on sustainable investments and a sustainable finance sector ahead of the German federal elections on 22 September.

The answers of CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP, Die Linke and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen can be found here (in German).

FNG also questioned seven Austrian parties – SPÖ, ÖVP, FPÖ, Grüne, BZÖ, NEOS and Team Stronach – on the same issues ahead of Austrian elections on 29 September.

Their answers can be found here.