Pressure on Nick Hurd to reveal details of Tory policies

Charities want to know how and when pledges made before the election will be implemented

Nick Hurd, charities minister
Nick Hurd, charities minister

With spending cuts looming, new charities minister Nick Hurd is likely to come under pressure soon to explain the coalition government's plans for the voluntary sector.

The Tories said before the election that they wanted charities to run more public services. They also unveiled other far-reaching plans for the sector, such as establishing a big society bank and changing National Lottery funding.

Now charities are keen to hear more about how and when their policies will be implemented at a time when the public finances are in a parlous state.

In a letter to the sector in the run-up to the election, Hurd and Francis Maude, now the Cabinet Office minister, said they had three priorities: making it easier to run voluntary organisations, getting more resources into the sector and making it easier to work with the state.

"We are determined to take a long-term view and create an easier, more stable environment for a strong, independent voluntary sector," they said.

Chief executives body Acevo and the Community Sector Coalition have already urged the Conservatives to spell out their 'big society' plans.

Other Tory pledges included reviewing the work of Capacitybuilders and diverting money from the Futurebuilders loan book to a community grants programme. The party also said it would set up a taskforce to reduce Gift Aid bureaucracy.

It is unclear how far the Tories will adjust policy to accommodate the Liberal Democrats, whose plans included a single rate of Gift Aid at 23 per cent.

What the sector is saying

"I hope he shows conviction because this isn't a time for dithering" - Peter Kyle, deputy chief executive, Acevo

"He appreciates that local charities and voluntary organisations have different needs from big national charities" - Kevin Curley, chief executive, Navca

"It's essential that our sector is not treated as a soft target when cuts are made" - Stuart Etherington, chief executive, NCVO

"At a time of political change, his appointment brings stability" - Hannah Terrey, head of policy and public affairs, Charities Aid Foundation

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