Sector's contribution to economy 'could be four times larger than thought'

Navca's Joe Irvin tells charity sector leaders the figure has emerged from research by the NCVO

Joe Irvin
Joe Irvin

The charity sector’s contribution to the economy could be four times larger than traditional measures have shown, Joe Irvin, chief executive of local infrastructure body Navca, told an audience of charity sector leaders last week.

He said this figure had emerged from research into the voluntary sector’s contribution to the economy by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. He said the NCVO was in conversation with government about how to change this measure.

Irvin was speaking at the launch of Managing in the ‘New Normal’ – Adapting to Uncertainty, a report based on research into how the sector is coping with the difficult economic climate.

In November, the NCVO published a paper that showed the sector’s "gross value added" was at least £11.6bn, or 0.8 per cent of the total economy. But it said this did not include the value of volunteering, which it calculated to be £23.1bn.

The same paper said the NCVO had agreed to work with the Office for National Statistics on changes to the measurement of the charity sector’s contribution to the economy.

"The methodology used to calculate voluntary sector GVA needs further refinement," the paper said.

An NCVO spokesman declined to give any further information on any discussions with government or any work it had carried out with the ONS.

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