Charity Leaders offer Chancellor Osborne Six Point Plan for the 2015 Budget and Beyond
- ACEVO CEO Sir Stephen Bubb: ‘case we have made is unequivocal: you cannot have a thriving economy, or a fair and free society, without an independent and robust third sector.’
- Chancellor urged to distance himself from Pickles comments on charity campaigning
With a week to go until the 2015 budget, ACEVO Chief Executive Sir Stephen Bubb today issued a six point plan to the Chancellor to deliver better partnership working with the third sector. The plan was contained in a letter sent to the Treasury yesterday.
The six point plan follows ACEVO’s Free Society Manifesto, which articulated a 36 point programme for working with the sector. Several recommendations have already been taken up by the major political parties.
The six point plan is as follows:
- Commit to ensuring the third sector is a ‘preferred partner’ for our public services. Decrying ‘public sector monopolies that have all too often elided into private sector oligopolies,’ Bubb challenged Osborne to out-bid Andy Burnham’s third sector policy in healthcare and declare the third sector a ‘preferred partner’ across all public services – and, as advocated by Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb MP following ACEVO’s proposals, to implement a ‘citizens charter on community rights’ to deliver this policy.
- Recognise and Support the Third Sector’s role as Britain’s crisis managers, in the NHS and elsewhere. Following the recommendation in ACEVO’s ‘Free Society’ manifesto, the Government allocated funding for third sector organisations to support under-pressure accident and emergency units. This winter the scheme is in 29 A&E units, but Bubb recommended it should be made permanent in the Department of Health and scaled up and across government to other departments such as DEFRA where the third sector plays a similarly crucial role in managing crises or alleviating pressures.
- Release Local Sustainability Funding. Following ACEVO’s campaign, the Office for Civil Society under Nick Hurd outlined a £40 million Local Sustainability Fund in March 2014. Bubb warned the Treasury and Civil Society Minister Rob Wilson MP that these funds were long overdue for release.
- Allocate LIBOR and Commercial fines to build social infrastructure: Bubb urged the Government to use the proceeds of LIBOR fixing and fines from banking malfeasance and other consumer scandals to extend local sustainability funding a further three years to support voluntary sector infrastructure.
- Create Social Investment Action Zones: Bubb recommended the government pilot Social Investment Action Areas (SIAAs) that bring local councils into the social investment mix, and create the next wave of development of the social investment market.
- Commit to protecting the rights of charities and social enterprises to campaign on behalf of the voiceless and the vulnerable. Following Labour’s commitment to repeal the lobbying act, Bubb urged the Chancellor to distance himself from last week’s comments by Eric Pickles and publicly support the right of charities and social enterprises to freely and independently speak out on behalf of their beneficiaries and about what they see in their daily work.
Commenting, Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO said:
“These policies represent a costed and committed future for the partnership between the third sector and government. We are pleased that several aspects of our manifesto, from repealing the Lobbying Act, to introducing funding for charities to help during NHS crises and creating citizens rights have already been taken up by the Government and other major political parties. Now we need to go further.
“The Chancellor must join us and seek to protect free speech and the free society we cherish. He must safeguard the independence of charities to speak out against injustice. ACEVO’s nationwide network of charities and social enterprises is unified in our determination to ensure that our beneficiaries continue to have their case made – and we have every right to expect a government that supports us in that aim. “