Sticking Plaster Autumn Statement ignores needs of Charity Beneficiaries

Commenting on Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s autumn statement, Asheem Singh, Chief Executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, said: 

“This was a sticking plaster autumn statement. The economic forecasts cast a prolonged gloom over our economy and society and there was no sense of a vision to bring the public services on which we depend out of the other side.

“Additional funding for the NHS is welcome but lack of support for social care and the voluntary organisations that delivers it is regrettable.

“Funding for prison officers after the doors have burst open sums up the Government’s frankly inadequate approach to prevention in public services.”

On the allocation of £102m of LIBOR fines to armed forces and emergency charities, Asheem Singh said:

“Investment in our charities is welcome.  But in its latest Libor giveaway the Government has ignored its own post-Kid Company guidelines on good grant making. Good causes are being served badly and there is a real question about whether this annual giveaway to various pet projects really is in the public’s best interest

“Had the Government chosen to deploy this money towards investment in the quality and support of charity governance it would have demonstrated that it has learned the lessons of Kids Company, lessons that cannot be ignored if the needs of the nation’s most vulnerable are to be met.”

On the allocation of £13m to help improve management in businesses, Asheem Singh said:

“We are concerned that the Government continues to ignore our calls for specialist management funding for the charitable sector. We trust the Mayfield Review’s ambit will extend to social enterprises but charity governance is a ticking time bomb that could potentially affect millions of vulnerable beneficiaries. Government investment here would not only be welcome but crucial.”

In other measures announced by Philip Hammond, ACEVO welcomes the rise in the living wage, the commitment not to introduce future welfare cuts and the increased investment in Local Growth Funds and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Singh said: “We welcome the reduction in taper rate of the Universal Credit and note that the new system makes such changes easier to implement in theory. We will continue to observe the roll-out in the interests of charity beneficiaries across the country and urge the government to commit to ongoing dialogue with the sector in order to ensure that the most vulnerable benefit from these changes.”

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