Don't replace the Big Lottery Fund, charity taskforce tells Tories

Small charities value fund's support through the application process

The Conservatives should drop plans to replace the Big Lottery Fund with a new Voluntary Action Lottery Fund, according to the Acevo taskforce that is examining the party's voluntary sector policy.

The Tories made the suggestion in their green paper on the voluntary sector, Voluntary Action in the 21st Century, published last year.

But the taskforce, chaired by Harriett Baldwin, deputy chair of Futurebuilders and Tory candidate for West Worcestershire, said an increase in the proportion of lottery money going to the sector could be achieved more quickly by preserving the BLF and raising the proportion of grants it gave to the voluntary sector to 100 per cent.

The NCVO made a similar call in its own response to the green paper in March.

The taskforce report also warns the Tories to ensure their proposed administrative savings at the BLF do not affect the fund's "greatly valued" support of small organisations through the application process.

The report endorses many of the Tory paper's principles, but says it should have included pledges on VAT reform. It says a social investment bank should be set up with alternative funding if unclaimed assets are not available in the short term.

Shadow charities min-ister Nick Hurd said the report was a "very welcome contribution".

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