Third sector should be called 'first sector', Cameron says

Conservative leader tells local government conference the term implies lack of respect

Conservative leader David Cameron has said that he does not think the term 'third sector' should be used to refer to charities and social enterprises.

Answering a question on community interest companies and social enterprises at the Local Government Association conference yesterday, Cameron said he felt the term suggested a lack of respect for the organisations it described.

 In his foreword to the Conservative green paper on the future of the voluntary sector last year, A Stronger Society: Voluntary Action in the 21st Century, Cameron said that he wanted to see charities and social enterprises as "the first sector".

But Peter Kyle, deputy chief executive of chief executive's body Acevo, said such a debate would be a distraction for sector organisations during the recession.

"We don't have the luxury of having a debate like that at this time," he said.

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