Still no date set by minister Rob Wilson for launch of sustainability fund

The Minister for Civil Society passed up two opportunities yesterday to announce a date, instead saying 'significant progress' had been made

Rob Wilson
Rob Wilson

The Minister for Civil Society has been unable to provide a date for the launch of the expected £40m local sustainability fund, both in a parliamentary written answer and at a hustings event held yesterday.

It was in an interview with Third Sector in March last year that Nick Hurd, the former Minister for Civil Society, first announced the creation of a fund, which it was hoped would be worth £40m, to support medium-sized charities to become more sustainable.

A consultation on this fund, which began in May, said its design would be finalised in summer 2014, but the lack of an announcement about its launch has recently provoked concern within the sector.

In a parliamentary question tabled on Thursday last week, Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow minister for civil society, asked what progress had been made on introducing the fund.

Rob Wilson, the minister, responded yesterday. His answer in full was: "The department has made significant progress on the development of this fund. The design of the fund is being informed by the excellent feedback we received through the public consultation and wide-ranging sector engagement carried out in 2014."

Wilson was again asked about the fund at yesterday’s Social Leaders Debate, a pre-election hustings event hosted by the charity leaders group Acevo and the Charities Aid Foundation.

He gave a similar answer, saying government had "made significant progress on the fund", but giving no date for its launch.

Nandy, speaking at the same event, told Wilson that his parliamentary written answer has been "less than illuminating", and said of the fund: "It would be great if you could find it."

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