Darling confirms £515m for sector

The Government has renewed its promise to promote the voluntary sector's role in building strong communities and delivering public services in a combined Comprehensive Spending Review and Pre-Budget Report that pledges £515m of investment between 2008 and 2011.

In Alistair Darling’s first major policy announcement as Chancellor, most pledges on the voluntary sector repeat those set out in July’s third sector review.

These include a £50m fund to help local foundations develop sustainable community endowments, a £10m investment in community organisations and £117m for youth volunteering, developing the work of the charity v.

The report emphasises the sector’s “revitalised role” in reshaping public services to suit the communities that use them.

It repeats that three-year funding plans for charities and voluntary groups should become the norm rather than the exception in all government departments.

It also pledges that the sector will be a “key delivery partner” in youth services, access to employment, waste and recycling. The Government, it says, is committed to improving initiatives that engage hard-to-reach groups, harnessing third sector expertise “where appropriate”.

Peter Kyle, director of strategy and enterprise at chief executives body Acevo, said: “For these announcements to have transformational outcomes for people in the front line will require a degree of government cross-cutting that is not always achieved.

“Acevo will be watching closely and positively engaging on behalf of our members to ensure these measures deliver for the people who look to the third sector for vital support and development services.”

Ed Miliband, the Cabinet Office minister, said the new allocations would create an environment that enabled campaigning, strengthened communities, transformed public services and encouraged social enterprise. He said 27 out of the 30 public service agreements across departments had a direct relevance to the sector

Phil Hope, the Minister for the Third Sector, said the review recognised the critical contribution that third sector organisations made to service delivery.

“Over the review years, the Government will put in place significant investment to build the capacity of third sector organisations to support their enormous contribution to our society, economy and environment,” Hope said.

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