Sector welcomes appointment of 'up to speed' Nick Hurd

This is not a time for dithering, says Acevo's Peter Kyle

Voluntary sector representative organisations have welcomed the appointment of Nick Hurd as minister and hope his 18-month tenure as shadow minister will enable him to hit the ground running.

The appointment was confirmed unofficially this morning and a formal announcement is expected shortly.

Peter Kyle, deputy chief executive of Acevo, said Hurd's background meant he was "up to speed" on the issues.

"We're operating in a difficult environment, so it's good to skip the pleasantries and get down to business," said Kyle. "We're getting somebody who is very good with people and a fast learner. I hope he shows conviction because this isn't a time for dithering."

He said Hurd's main priorities would be getting better value for money from the sector and explaining the Tories' big society agenda in more detail.

"I don't think the big society idea was fully developed when it was talked about during the campaign," said Kyle.

Kevin Curley, chief executive of local infrastructure group Navca, said Hurd genuinely understood local infrastructure groups.

"He appreciates that local charities and voluntary organisations have different needs from big national charities," said Curley. "I hope that his priority will be ensuring local voluntary organisations and community groups are given a full role in making a success of the new government's decentralisation agenda."

Hannah Terrey, head of policy and public affairs at the Charities Aid Foundation, said Hurd had considerable experience of the charity sector.

"His experience of shadowing the role means that at a time of great political change his appointment will bring stability," she said.

"There are other strong voices for the sector at the Cabinet table with the appointments of Francis Maude, Jeremy Hunt and Baroness Warsi, who all have a history of commitment to the sector."

Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said spending cuts were inevitable, but added: "It is essential that our sector is not treated as a soft target when cuts are made."

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