Communities will be able to access grants and loans worth £250m over the next 10 years to buy pubs and other “community assets” that are under threat, even some that aren’t “commercially viable”, David Cameron has announced today.

The money would come from both the Big Lottery Fund and Society Capital, the body that uses cash from dormant bank accounts to fund community projects.

In a speech today, the Prime Minister said these two organisations are “making a long term commitment to provide a quarter of a billion pounds over the rest of this decade to help communities with ambitions to own local assets like pubs, shops, community centres and affordable housing”.

“Now, of course, some assets are never going to be viable in commercial terms and will always need grants and so part of the money from the Big Lottery Fund will go to help with that.”

Of the £250m available, £50m will go into a “Community Assets Fund”, providing loans and grants to start projects that could be commercially viable over a period of time.

Cameron said: “This will start making payments from next year. It will mean that community groups will be able to explore the feasibility of projects without incurring major debts if they decide not to proceed.

“At the same time, long term loans will be available to those that do go ahead - attracting further funding from local authorities, philanthropists and Local Enterprise Partnerships.”

Cameron listed pubs among village halls, playing fields as “vital institutions” in towns and villages.

“Everyone knows how - despite the best efforts of parish and local councils - these can face closure. I want our social investment funds to give people the opportunity to take them over and run them. This isn’t some pipe dream. Already there are 311 community-owned shops,18 community-owned pubs, as well as community owned bookshops, cafes, swimming pools, bakers, farmers markets, even community owned broadband networks.”

The Prime Minister also promised tax breaks for “social investments”, with a “Social Stock Exchange” used to measure the success of those investments.