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Ministers are attempting to boost private investment in risky and expensive public sector projects with a £20m fund for cash-strapped departments and local authorities that need help solving entrenched social problems. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, hopes Friday’s launch of a “Social Outcomes Fund” will spur the growth of social impact bonds – investments that aim to bring private financing to difficult public projects at no initial cost to the taxpayer. The bonds have an obvious appeal in the current climate of public sector austerity – investors take the risk and are only rewarded with a government-funded dividend if the project is successful. Financial Times