Voluntary sector welcomes Tory manifesto

Charities would be central to creating Cameron's 'big society', say charity representatives - but 'big society bank' would need more money

Charity leaders have welcomed the Conservative Party manifesto, declaring that it puts the sector at the heart of the party's plans.

Both Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, and Stephen Bubb, head of chief executives body Acevo, welcomed the document, which was published today.

"We are pleased to see that civil society is at the heart of the Conservative manifesto," said Etherington. "Several commitments in the manifesto demonstrate an understanding of many of the issues and concerns raised by the voluntary sector."

Etherington said he was pleased to hear the Tory promise to ensure that all of the good cause money raised through the National Lottery would be directed to the sector.

Bubb said: "The ‘big society', central to the Conservative manifesto, is reliant on a thriving third sector, which puts us at the heart of their plans."

"We were very glad to see that their plans for public service reform stipulate a ‘leading role' for the third sector in delivering public services."

Hannah Terrey, head of policy and public affairs at the Charities Aid Foundation, reiterated her organisation's insistence that any plans for a 'big society bank' need to be supported by sufficient cash.

"We welcome the emphasis of the Conservative Party's manifesto on the part to be played by third sector organisations in addressing social needs and increasing participation in local communities," she said.

"As with Labour's proposals for the social investment wholesale bank, the Conservative's plans for a 'big society bank' are welcome, but we need to ensure that any proposed wholesale bank is sufficiently capitalised to enable a steady flow of affordable funds to smaller community organisations, charities and social enterprises. 

"As the election progresses, we look forward to seeing more detail on the party's plans to increase philanthropy and how these would work in practice."


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