Shadow charities minister answers your questions

The Conservatives will consult Tory-led councils on ways to encourage local volunteering, according to Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd
Nick Hurd

In his response to questions submitted by Third Sector readers, Hurd said he would be looking at the benefits provided to local areas by volunteer centres.

Following the Commission on the Future of Volunteering, central government failed to support England's crucial and under-resourced volunteer centres, without whom local volunteering often wouldn't happen. Given the Tories' commitment to localism, does this mean they will support and develop the volunteer centre network where the Government has failed to?

– Chris Reed, chief executive, Westminster Volunteer Centre

"Thank you for showing me the very impressive Westminster Volunteer Centre. It is clear that your partnership with a progressive Conservative council represents best practice in terms of stimulating volunteering in your complex community. It makes you think what could have been achieved with the £150m plus that the Government has committed to its own new initiatives in this space. As you know, we are now in a consultation period on our green paper, and one of the things I will be looking at is the value added by tangible volunteer centres. Since you rightly pointed out our commitment to localism, this is one of the issues I will be discussing in my consultation with Conservative councils up and down the country."

Climate change is a social, economic and environmental threat – but politicians may be afraid to tackle personal freedoms such as car ownership and cheap flights. Can political parties and the third sector join forces to create a much needed shift in public attitudes and behaviour on energy and consumption?

– Miles Sibley, development director, BTCV

"When I entered Parliament in 2005, I decided to specialise in climate change because I agree with you about the threat. What we have seen since then is the development of a strong cross-party consensus on the scale of the response required, which is supported by the key third sector organisations. Personally, I think it is unlikely that we will make much headway if the story to the public is about taking things away. There is so much we can do that does not impinge on personal freedoms but nudges industry and consumers towards making low-carbon choices. I don't want to stop people driving; I just want them to be in a low-carbon car."

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