News In Brief 13 February 2017


The Social Stock Exchange member Aquapak Polymers has completed its new 50,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in the Midlands. Aquapak, which is currently based in Kings Norton, is investing in the new premises as part of its ongoing expansion plans. Once fully operational, the manufacturing facility will have the capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes of plastic pellets with flexibility to increase production as demand grows. Up to 50 direct jobs and 25 indirect jobs are expected to be created during the first three to four years as the company scales up production.


The first close of the Real Lettings Property Fund 2 received £45 million investment from three London local authorities – Croydon, Lambeth and Westminster – to help create better pathways for homeless individuals, and their children, who would otherwise struggle to access private rented accommodation. The fund is a partnership between social impact investment company Resonance and homelessness charity St Mungo’s. Building on the success of its predecessor, the first Real Lettings Property Fund, this second Fund – RLPF2 – will buy homes to let to St Mungo’s.


Oikocredit, the Social Stock Exchange member, which has more than 40 years’ experience in funding to partner organisations active in inclusive finance (including microfinance), agriculture and renewable energy, has appointed Thos Gieskes as its new managing director as of April 2017. A Dutch national, he has worked in international business and finance, particularly in rural lending and financing agribusinesses, for nearly 30 years. He was most recently CEO of Rabobank Australia and managing director for the Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group.  Gieskes will be taking over the role from interim managing director Ging Ledesma, who will continue her role as investor relations and social performance director at Oikocredit.


The Bright Futures Social Investment Tax Relief Fund has raised £1.5 million from more than 40 UK tax payers and made its first investment into Ability Tec, a Bolton-based social enterprise. The fund, launched in 2015, is the UK’s first nationwide SITR fund. It has a particular focus on those that are working to improve the lives of children, young people and other vulnerable groups throughout the UK. The fund is managed by Kin Capital, with Social Finance acting as an independent social investment intermediary. The loans are unsecured, in line with the SITR stipulations, and may be structured as debt or equity. The fund requires recipient social enterprises to have income streams sufficient to give a reasonable expectation on returns.


The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 were estimated to be 495.7 million tonnes CO2 equivalent, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, a drop of 3.8% year-on-year, and 38% lower than in 1990, the base year. The uncertainty level in emissions estimates is believed to be around 3%. According to the Climate Change Act 2008, the UK is committed to reducing these emissions by at least 80% (of the 1990 base) by 2050.


The newspaper reported that Lord Warner, who sits on the Lords’ Select Committee examining the sustainability of the NHS, said the public health system was “near collapse” and an element of compulsion might be needed to ensure long-term care was properly funded. Lord Warner ‘said the financial services industry would not step in to fill the savings gap with innovative new products.’ It quoted him as saying: “If you’re not prepared to do it [fund care costs] out of general taxation, which is one option for the government, then you’ve got to think of some kind of insurance basis with some degree of pooled risk. You have got to have a funding stream that will guarantee a sufficient pattern of means-tested, publicly-funded provision as the population continues to age.”



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