The Treasury has rejected a request from local infrastructure umbrella body Navca to use next month’s comprehensive spending review to ask local authorities to spare charities from the brunt of cuts.
Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca, wrote to Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, asking for the review to "state clearly that local authorities have a vital role in sustaining local voluntary action despite the spending cuts".
He said he hoped the review would give an endorsement to the voluntary sector similar to the one given last week by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who urged local authorities not to do "the easy thing" and cut funding for voluntary organisations because they offered value for money.
But Curley described Alexander’s response as "lukewarm" and "disappointing".
"All I got was warm words and a reassurance that the reduction in the performance management of councils would free up resources for front-line services," said Curley. "Contrast that with the Prime Minister’s strong statement to Parliament last week."
Curley said he was "not asking for favours, just fairness. Spending cuts are coming and we understand that charities and voluntary organisations will not be exempt. However, we need a consistent approach.
"I am confident our sector can meet the government’s challenge to provide solutions to the problems we face. But our ability to do so will be severely curtailed if we suffer a disproportionate share of the spending cuts.
"The spending review will dominate the public agenda for some time to come, which is why it is vital that it echoes the Prime Minister’s words that slashing support to the voluntary and community sector is not an option."