Sector's contribution 'essential', say Tories

The Conservative Party's manifesto for the next General Election will spell out an important role for the voluntary sector in the greatest detail yet, according to Greg Clark, the shadow charities minister.

Clark acknowledged that in the past the party had failed to fully acknowledge the contribution of the third sector.

"We recognised that it was right to change our views on the sector," he said. "In previous years at our party conferences, we have focused on law and order and crime. This time round, it was more about the causes of crime and we have been stunned by how much of a contribution charities are making to solving these problems. The sector is absolutely essential to our vision."

Cameron Watt, deputy director of the Centre for Social Justice, said he hoped for and expected a more substantial mention of the sector than there has been in past manifestos.

"I think the focus will be on poverty-fighting charities and service delivery in the broadest sense, not just large contracts," he said. "I think there will be a real contrast with the Government's own emphasis on the sector's role in campaigning and advocacy."

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