Lib Dems pledge to support social investment and strengthen social value act

But the 100-page manifesto includes no other mention of charities

Lib Dem manifesto
Lib Dem manifesto

The Liberal Democrats have promised to support social investment and strengthen the social value act should they form the next government.

But the party makes no other mention of charities in the rest of its near 100-page manifesto, which was published today.

The pledges are included in a section called "Local communities working together", which also promises to reduce the powers of central government ministers to "interfere in democratically elected local government", remove the requirement for local referendums for council tax changes and introduce an aim to promote tenant management in social housing.

The section says the party believes in community politics: "the power of local people to come together to solve their own problems and make a better life for their neighbourhoods".

It says: "This means rejuvenating democratic local government in England and also supporting other forms of community organisation and empowerment."

It says the party will "support social investment, ensuring charities and social enterprises can access the support and finance they need to strengthen their governance and deliver innovative, sustainable solutions to challenges in their communities".

The manifesto says a Liberal Democrat government would "enable central and local government to prioritise employee-owned and community-benefit companies in awarding procurement contracts by strengthening the social value act".

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 was designed to make it easier for voluntary sector organisations to win public sector contracts by encouraging commissioners to consider the social as well as the monetary value offered by bidders, but has been criticised by some in the voluntary sector for being too weak.

The document makes no promises of changes to the lobbying act that would benefit charities, but says it would "strengthen and expand the lobbying register and prohibit MPs from accepting paid lobbying work".

The party’s manifesto for the 2015 general election, when Nick Clegg was the party leader, promised to "consider carefully" whether the lobbying act struck the right balance in regulating non-party campaigning, and to encourage social action and social investment.

The 2017 manifesto promises a review of the business rates system, "prioritising reforms that recognise the development of the digital economy, lessening the burden on smaller businesses and ensuring high streets remain competitive".

It pledges to end the voluntary right to buy pilots that have enabled some housing association tenants to purchase their homes.

It also promises a second referendum on the Brexit deal and says a Liberal Democrat government would plough an additional £7bn into schools and colleges.

The party won eight seats in the 2015 general election.

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