Government Tells Councils: Don’t use charities as an “easy target” when making cutsPosted: February 5, 2013
Local councils across Britain have been urged by the Government to treat charities fairly when setting budgets, and ensure that statutory guidance protecting charities is followed when implementing spending cuts.
Correspondence from the Department of Communities and Local Government has reinforced the Government’s message from the Best Value Guidance published in 2011, which states that councils should not be “passing on larger reductions to the sector and small businesses as a whole than they take on themselves.”
In a letter to all local authority leaders, seen by Compact Voice, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Rt. Hon. Don Foster MP states that “authorities should be responsive to the benefits and needs of voluntary and community sector organisations of all sizes.”
Mr Foster goes on to champion the positive role that charities can play in growing local economies, arguing that “opening up service provision to a wider range of service providers, including voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises, can have a wide range of benefits including boosting the local economy and lead to better and more efficient service delivery.”
Warning councils against balancing budgets on the back of charities and using the voluntary sector as an “easy target,” he explains that “it disappoints me that there continue to be councils who appear to see the sector as an easy target when it comes to making necessary savings.”
Mr Foster also instructs councils to make their changes to voluntary sector funding more transparent and accessible, so that council leaders can be held to account by local residents.
The letter from Mr Foster echoes calls from the Back Britain’s Charities campaign, which has been calling on government – both central and local – to ensure that charities are not hit disproportionately by funding cuts, and it is extremely positive that this message is being promoted to councils across the country.
We welcome Mr Foster’s intervention, and will be watching with interest as budgets are set over coming weeks to ensure that councils are treating charities fairly. Give us a helping hand, by contacting your representatives and asking them what they are doing to Back Britain’s Charities.