Politics: Labour conference - Voluntary groups 'tire of promises'

The Government's rhetoric about the voluntary sector is not being translated into action, according to Stephen Collinson, director of healthcare at Sue Ryder Care.

Reacting to Gordon Brown's speech at the Labour Party conference last week, in which he repeated Government pledges about a compact between the voluntary and public sectors, he said: "We've heard that I don't know how many times."

Collinson said the voluntary sector was still waiting for the Government to deliver on promises of a level playing field between the public, private and voluntary sectors. Despite the Compact and Compact Plus, he said he could see no signs of the sector's financial relationship with central and local government improving in the next two to three years.

Kevin Barron, Labour MP for Rother Valley and chair of the health select committee, agreed that the sector was a favourite buzz word for ministers and MPs at the moment. "It seems that every other week we get a speech from ministers or MPs about the sector," he said.

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