Sector deserves more respect, says Miliband

Cabinet office minister Ed Miliband has admitted that the Government is failing to show enough respect to voluntary organisations.

Speaking at yesterday’s NCVO conference in London, Miliband said partnership and respect were the watchwords in the relationship between the state and the third sector and that “government needs to do a better job of showing that respect”.

He identified three solutions: more long-term funding, a greater understanding of the breadth of the third sector and more respect for charities’ independence.

“We are determined in this term to make a shift to three-year funding both in central government and local government,” Miliband told delegates at NCVO’s annual conference.

He said that the public sector needed to accept that charities were entitled to “bite the hand that feeds them”.

Miliband added charities and government should be partners, not rivals, and rejected the idea that ministers should leave the voluntary sector alone.

“The notion that the state and civil society should sometimes stand outside each other would not contribute to solving the problems of civil society in this country,” he said. “If government got out of the way, some of the great things civil society does in this country would not happen.”

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