Labour Commitment to Repeal Lobbying Act is Good for Democracy: Director of Public Policy Asheem Singh Comments

Commenting on the launch of the Labour manifesto, Asheem Singh, Director of Public Policy at the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, the UK’s largest trade body for charity and social enterprise leaders said:

“Charities and social enterprises will be most excited by the Labour promise to repeal the lobbying act. When politicians voted to restrict the amount grass roots campaign groups could spend on campaigns in this election year while voting at the same time to raise the amount that politicians could spend on their own campaigns, a basic principle of decency and democracy was violated. At ACEVO we are pleased that our sector’s persistence and the argument of our manifesto ‘Free Society’ has been accepted. We look forward to this injustice being rectified, ideally in the first hundred days of the new parliament, whoever wins the election.”

Commenting on Labour’s commitment to early intervention and community care, Singh said:

“Labour’s commitment to early intervention and preventative, community care is welcome. Since ACEVO’s report ‘The Prevention Revolution’ the case has been properly articulated that we currently pay hospitals to keep people in hospital, not to prevent them from entering in the first place. This is unjust and unhealthy and it is only through proper partnership with state and community providers that we can make a difference. 

“ACEVO’s manifesto urged the next government to commit to pooled budgets that bring health and care together; we are pleased this argument has been accepted and we look forward to hearing more detailed plans.”

Commenting on Labour’s plans for a public service reform and devolution, Singh said:

 “Labour’s proposals to localise public services and get funding to organisations that deliver social value through regional banks are welcome but will require more detail. Localism has three dimensions – economic, constitutional and public service based – and our evidence suggests that we need detailed policy on all three if we are to deliver excellent services with a plurality of providers. Devolution is the new consensus and ACEVO’s forthcoming report ‘Remaking the State’ tackles these issues head on. Our detailed blue print for the next government will be on the desk of whoever wins the election.”

Commenting on Labour’s plans on unemployment, Singh said:

“We are pleased that Labour has committed to a jobs guarantee. This was first outlined in ACEVO’s 2012 report on youth unemployment ‘The Crisis we Cannot Afford,’ a commission chaired by David Miliband. We are however concerned that Labour has decided to attach sanctions to the guarantee. The purpose behind the guarantee was not coercion but hope. Deploying the policy in this way is not the way to build an economy or a workforce with the skills we need. We urge them to rethink their delivery of this important idea.”

 

Notes to Editors

The Lobbying Act reduces the amount grass roots campaigners can spend in an election year by 60%. Earlier this year politicians voted themselves a 23% rise in the amount they could spend during the campaign. See http://civilsocietycommission.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/civil-society-commission-report-no3-v4-PRINT.pdf andhttp://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/dec/13/tories-david-cameron-buy-election-campaign-spending

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