In her speech to the Charity Commission in January the Prime Minister spoke of “creating an environment in which our charities and social enterprises can thrive” and “recognising, supporting and championing those who lead the way in shaping a civil society that can bring the talents of so many in our voluntary sector to bear on some of the great social challenges that we face together”. Despite these encouraging words, today’s budget was almost entirely devoid of references to charity or civil society organisations.
ACEVO’s chief executive Vicky Browning said:
“The Chancellor did announce an additional £2 billion in grant funding for social care packages over the next three years. However, this is less than the £1 billion a year the Care and Support Alliance says is needed just to maintain current services. Phillip Hammond also recognised the need for increased spending to tackle violence against women and girls, although much more than £20 million would be needed just to ensure support is available nationally for all women and children that experience domestic abuse.
“And whilst there is a nod towards civil society and the third sector, the government does not seem to fully understand the depth and breadth of the skill and expertise which exist in civil society organisations. Skill which can help us reach our mutual goals.
“Phillip Hammond may feel he is reaching out to a disgruntled constituency – the ordinary working person – but the UK does not comprise solely of the ordinary working person. There are millions of disadvantaged people outside this description who appear, at best, to have been overlooked. It is a disappointing budget which has ignored the opportunity to provide tangible evidence of the commitment to a comprehensively shared society.”