Labour appoints new shadow charities minister

Steve Reed, the Labour and Cooperative MP for Croydon North, has taken up the role

Steve Reed, the shadow minister for civil society
Steve Reed, the shadow minister for civil society

Steve Reed, the Labour and Cooperative MP for Croydon North, has been appointed as the shadow minister for civil society. 

Reed, who entered parliament at a by-election in 2012 after the death of Malcolm Wicks, was leader of Lambeth Council in south London for six years before becoming an MP.

In an interview with Third Sector in 2010, he talked of making Lambeth the first "cooperative council" and said he wanted to see local people taking over council services wherever possible. 

Reed, who worked in educational publishing for 18 years after graduating from Sheffield University, was awarded the OBE in 2013 for services to local government.

He served as a shadow minister for communities and local government under Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn before standing down at the end of June as part of the mass resignations by members of the shadow cabinet in apparent protest at Corbyn’s leadership of the party.

He was also shadow home affairs minister between October 2013 and March 2015 and a member of the former House of Commons Public Administration Committee between December 2012 and November 2013.

Reed said the challenges facing the voluntary sector were huge.

"Charities and community organisations are struggling to support growing numbers of people who need their help at a time when funding has been cut," he said.

"Uncertainty caused by the Tories' chaotic response to Brexit means charity leaders fear more cuts are on the way.

"I know from my time in local government that community groups, co-ops and mutuals play a huge role in civic life, but they could do even more if given the chance with more open decision making and a fairer share of resources.

"I’m looking forward to working with civil society to challenge a government that doesn’t really trust, understand or value the community and voluntary sector."

The charity chief executives body Acevo said Reed’s credentials for his new role were encouraging and he had shown in his role at Lambeth Council an understanding of the evolving third sector landscape.

Asheem Singh, interim chief executive of the charity chiefs body Acevo, said: "Steve has always been a strong advocate of community-led public services and his appointment can help Labour’s policymakers work proactively with civil society leaders to maximise social impact.

"We are confident that his experience and expertise will help to ensure that the voices of charities, social enterprises, coops, community interest companies, mutual and community organisations of all shapes and sizes – and by extension the voices of the most vulnerable that they represent – are heard during this period of social and economic uncertainty."

Reed’s constituency website says he lives in Croydon with his partner and two cats.

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