Brown promises sector £515m

The sector will be handed more than £500m of government money over the next three years as part of the wide-ranging third sector review, unveiled by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, today.

artwork for publicity for the review
artwork for publicity for the review
Brown said the upcoming comprehensive spending review would allocate the sector £515m between 2008 and 2011.

The future role of the third sector in social and economic regeneration
, carried out by the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, sets out the Government’s vision for placing the sector “at the heart of society” over the next 10 years. It reveals that the Government proposes to achieve that aim by focusing on four key areas: boosting charities’ ability to campaign, strengthening communities, transforming public services and encouraging social enterprise.

A new research centre dedicated to the sector is also promised, as is a new third sector skills strategy.

The review indicates that there are to be “better mechanisms” for funding the sector, including additional pressure on public bodies to make three-year funding settlements standard practice. It stopped short of giving any formal powers to the Compact commissioner, pledging instead a “continued focus on the Compact as a means to build the relationship between the third sector and all levels of government”.

In an attempt to allow greater sustainability in grant arrangements, a new £50m fund will be created to enable local independent foundations to set up ‘community endowments’.

At least £10m of additional cash will be used to support the transfer of public-owned buildings through the existing £30m Community Assets Fund.

The announcement of the review confirmed the expected fall in funding for Capacitybuilders, which runs the ChangeUp infrastructure programme. The organisation will receive £88.5m over the three-year period.

Cash already announced was also confirmed, including an additional £65m for the Futurebuilders fund and £117m to support youth volunteering activities.

Brown said a successful democracy must have a “thriving and diverse third sector” at its heart.

“Government cannot and must not stifle or control the thousands of organisations and millions of people that make up the sector,” the Prime Minister said. “We must create the space and opportunity for it to flourish, we must be good partners when we work together and we must listen and respond.”

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