Parliament with no overall control 'could be good for sector'

Finance experts say the situation offers charities the chance of greater influence

A hung parliament could make it easier to influence government policy, according to third sector fundraising and finance organisations.

Louise Richards, director of policy and campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising, said she believed there were a number of policies that could be introduced with cross-party agreement in a hung parliament.

"All of the parties could quite easily work together on simplifying Gift Aid and encouraging a culture of giving, which Nick Hurd has called for repeatedly," she said.

John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said a hung parliament presented problems for the third sector, but also offered a "once in a generation" opportunity for it to influence policy.

"This result presents real problems," he said. "There's uncertainty over spending; it's difficult to plan; there are worries over future employment.

"But in an area of political uncertainty, there is enormous scope for charities to influence public policy.

"No longer are we negotiating with a monolithic bloc vote. Every decision will be open to negotiation. Very small parties will have large influence."

He said that MPs would be much keener to work with organisations that could come up with policy ideas.

"You might have to negotiate with a very small number of MPs to get your point on the agenda," he said. "This has opened up vast possibilities for anyone who seeks to influence the political will."

Helen Donoghue, director of the Charity Tax Group, said her organisation would find it hard to improve the sector's tax situation if there was no strong government to negotiate with.

"So much time will be taken up producing a workable government that the sector will not be at the forefront of anyone's mind," she said.

"But we're hopeful that when a coalition does come about, a group of parties will be more sympathetic to the sector's needs than a single strong party."

 

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