Commenting on the Chancellor’s budget statement, as a whole, ACEVO CEO Sir Stephen Bubb said:
“The Chancellor’s budget delivered a mixture of peril and promise. On the fiscal side it was perilous. A four year freeze on benefits, welfare caps set at £20k across the UK (£23k in London) and family benefits restricted to two children. In- work benefits are set to be aggressively tapered, which may well decrease the incentives to increase working hours if structured poorly. The peril is that these measures may push vulnerable people closer to the wall.
“There is however promise. We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to a national living wage, to devolution and to the Simon Stevens plan for the NHS. The living wage proposal is a tribute to the collective voice of the many third sector campaigners who have argued for these measures. Properly devolved public services and a sustainable NHS cannot be achieved without working hand-in-glove with charities and social enterprises. We urge the Government to take the Chancellor’s lead and put the leg work into proper engagement with the organisations on the ground.”
Commenting on the implications for the charity and social enterprise sector on the announcement of extended devolution deals across public services, Sir Stephen said:
“Devolution is an opportunity for the sector. The ‘Manchester deal’ is now ‘available to all,’ with additional areas of devolution: children’s services and unemployment. ACEVO argued for the latter in our 2012 report ‘Youth Unemployment: The Crisis we Cannot Afford’ and we believe this is the right move.
“We have been working on the ground in Manchester on ensuring that our members are fully involved in the conversations that surround service delivery under the new arrangements. As ACEVO argued in our budget submission, transformation funding must be made available to help the sector get connected. ‘Available to all’ must mean this support is offered across the board .”
Commenting on the implication for charity leaders on the announcement of £8bn additional funding for the NHS, Sir Stephen said:
“We were encouraged to see the recommendations of NHS England Chief Simon Stevens in his NHS Five Year Forward View adopted wholesale by the Government. However they must be clear that £8 billion is not a sop to the NHS’ overstretched finances. This is the minimum needed to keep the NHS going that must be allied to a radical programme of change – which requires a substantial ramping up of community care. Our work on Winterbourne View has made the case for greater community provision for people with learning disabilities and/or autism – this agenda will gain momentum from hereonin.”
ACEVO is the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations. It supports, connects and represents the leaders of 1,500 of the UK’s largest charities and social enterprises. More information at www.acevo.org.uk
For media comment contact the ACEVO Press Office: 07825894716 or email@example.com