Many of the Government's measures to support the third sector have been good, according to Francis Maude, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office.
Speaking at chief executives body Acevo's annual conference in London yesterday, Maude pledged that any incoming Conservative government would not immediately dismantle everything the Labour Government had done.
"That kind of politics is in the past," he said. "A good part of what the Government has done is good. We will look and see what works," he said.
He said there was a consensus that public services no longer needed to be delivered by the public sector. That fact, combined with the "inevitable" cuts in public spending, meant the voluntary sector had to expand dramatically, he said.
Maude repeated previous Tory commitments to setting up a social investment bank, simplifying Gift Aid and drawing up public service contracts less restrictively and in a way that allowed sector organisations to make a surplus.
He also said he was anxious to preserve grants. "One of the chief benefits of the sector is its ability to identify a need and respond to it spontaneously," he said.
Maude said the Conservatives hoped to establish a new "social norm" of charitable giving, similar to the norm of giving a tip of about 10 per cent in restaurants.
"In late Victorian times, families gave about 10 per cent of their income in philanthropic giving," he said. "We have lost that. But even if the norm was a low level it would still increase the amount of money available to the sector."