Central government funding of the voluntary sector has risen sharply under New Labour, according to new figures. But despite the hikes, financial support of the sector still makes up a smaller part of the total government budget than it did under Margaret Thatcher's Conservative administration in the 1980s.
Home Office statistics show that funding to voluntary and community groups, excluding housing associations, grew by 43.1 per cent between 1999/2000 and 2000/01, and by 37.4 per cent between 2000/01 and 2001/2.
Funding now stands at £1.9bn, representing 0.64 per cent of total government spending of £281bn. But this is still much lower than the high-water mark of 0.91 per cent in 1988.
The increase in funding can be explained by new policies such as the New Deal for Communities.