No word on Government plans for recession

Minister refuses to reveal schedule for third sector action plan to MPs

Cabinet Office minister Liam Byrne has declined to give MPs details about how the Government plans to help charities through the economic downturn.

In a parliamentary debate last week, Byrne was asked by shadow charities minister Nick Hurd to reveal when the expected action plan for the sector would be published and whether it would contain any new investment or resources.

The Office of the Third Sector has been consulting charities about the help they might need from central government to help them through the impending recession.

But Byrne declined to say when the document would be published, pledging instead that the plans would support the sector.

"When the third sector action plan is published, it will contain proposals to strengthen charities, voluntary organisations and third sector organisations because they are on the front line in helping many people and many communities get through the downturn in good shape," he said.

Byrne was also asked by Conservative MP Alison Watkinson why there was no voluntary sector representative at a jobs summit chaired by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week.

Byrne replied: "In all my conversations on the National Economic Council and elsewhere, I have ensured that third sector interests are represented."

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