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Briefing Paper

April 2010

Briefing Paper
A briefing on political party manifestos and their policies on the third sector
Introduction
Over the days of 13, 14 and 15 April, the leading political parties – Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru – unveiled their election manifestos. The following extracts from each manifesto reveal the pledges made by all four parties with regard to the voluntary sector.

Labour party manifesto 2010 - extracts
The early years We want to strengthen parental engagement with Sure Start Children’s Centres. Some voluntary and third-sector organisations already run networks of Centres, and we will now pioneer mutual federations running groups of local Children’s Centres in the community interest. Older age The vast majority of older people are well and active, helping to strengthen our families, communities and wider society. Many charities, voluntary organisations and schools value and rely on the contribution of older people and we support the growing number of excellent initiatives creating greater understanding across the generations. We will continue to support older people in getting involved in their community by providing matched funding for community projects. 1

The challenge for Britain To build on the renaissance that British sport, culture and the arts have enjoyed in the last decade in the new climate of financial restraint. The voluntary and community sector has a new lease of life, but needs its potential to be fully harnessed. The Tories have always neglected the arts and sport, regarding them as an easy target for cuts.

Protecting community life We will extend the use of participatory budgeting to give local people a stronger say. Community Land Trusts enable local people to purchase and run local amenities and assets in their area such as youth facilities, parks and open spaces. We will promote the transfer of buildings and land to the ownership or control of voluntary and community groups. Supporting social enterprise The Social Investment Bank will make additional capital available to social enterprises with an initial endowment of £75 million funded by dormant accounts alongside existing funding streams. We will promote the creation of more social enterprise hubs in every community – helping more to get off the ground. We will extend the right of public-sector workers to request that they deliver frontline services through a social enterprise. Public-sector workers in the NHS currently enjoy this right. We will extend this to more public services, including social care, with greater community involvement in their governance. The new mutualism There is growing interest in co-operative and mutual organisations that people trust, and that have the capacity to unleash creativity and innovation, creating new jobs and services – particularly in disadvantaged neighbourhoods where traditional approaches have failed in the past. We want to see more local organisations run on cooperative principles with an expansion of Community Interest Companies and third sector mutual organisations that reinvest profits for the public good. We will promote this through the Co-operative Party, Business Link, enterprise education and the Regional Development Agencies. To give more people a stake in a highly valued national asset, British Waterways will be turned into a mutually owned co-operative. We will promote the use of community shares that support investment in football clubs, pubs, renewable energy and shops. A vibrant voluntary sector Britain has among the highest levels of voluntary membership in the world. We strongly value the independence of the voluntary and community sector, including its campaigning role, and will act to maintain it. There will be greater support for third-sector organisations in competing for public-sector contracts, ensuring there is a level playing field with the public and private sectors. We will consult on putting the Compact Commission – which sets guidelines for effective partnership working between government and the third sector in Britain – on a statutory footing, and ensure greater support for the Compact at local level.

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All young people should be active and engaged in their communities, so that it becomes a normal part of growing up to undertake service in the community. We are taking forward plans for a National Youth Community Service, with the goal that all young people contribute at least 50 hours to their communities by the age of 19, building on citizenship education and community engagement in schools. Faith is enormously important to millions of people in Britain, shaping their values and the way they live. We respect the importance of belief and welcome the contribution that people of faith make to our communities and society more widely. We will actively combat extremist groups who promote fear, hatred and violence on the basis of faith or race.

Welsh Labour party manifesto 2010 - extracts
Putting patients first We will work with the voluntary sector and expert providers to increase the availability of home renal dialysis for patients who can be better treated at home. We will end the postcode lottery of care for cancer patients by ensuring the implementation of robust national standards by 2009. Alongside this we will provide £2 million to fund the core work of voluntary hospices in Wales, the first time help with running costs has ever been available. Tackling anti-social behaviour We intend a radical improvement of the youth service – a national strategy to ensure local authorities, the voluntary sector and the youth justice service all work better together to provide young people with the opportunities they deserve. Culture and Sport for All We will implement the recommendations of the Stephens Review into the future development of the arts in Wales. We will place a statutory obligation on local councils to promote culture and encourage them to work together and with other partners in the voluntary and private sectors to deliver high quality cultural experiences for their communities.

Conservative party manifesto 2010 - extracts
Reduce welfare dependency Our Work Programme to reduce welfare dependency will be delivered through private and voluntary sector providers, which will be rewarded on a payment by results basis for getting people into sustainable work. Public service reform

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Our public service reform programme will enable social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups to play a leading role in delivering public services and tackling deep-rooted social problems. We will strengthen and support social enterprises to help deliver our public service reforms by creating a Big Society Bank, funded from unclaimed bank assets, to provide new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other nongovernmental bodies. This will provide social enterprises with the start-up funding and support they need to bid for government contracts or work towards delivering services under a payment by results model. Britain has a proud and long-standing charitable tradition, and we are convinced that the voluntary sector should play a major part in our civic renewal. We will introduce a fair deal on grants to give voluntary sector organisations more stability and allow them to earn a competitive return for providing public services. We will work with local authorities to promote the delivery of public services by social enterprises, charities and the voluntary sector. The National Lottery We will restore the National Lottery to its original purpose and, by cutting down on administration costs, make sure more money goes to good causes. The Big Lottery Fund will focus purely on supporting social action through the voluntary and community sector, instead of Ministers’ pet projects as at present. Sports, heritage and the arts will each see their original allocations of 20 percent of good cause money restored. Give patients more choice We will give every patient the power to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards, within NHS prices. This includes independent, voluntary and community sector providers. Fight back against crime We will fight back against the crime and anti-social behaviour that blights our communities. We will take steps to reduce the causes of crime, like poverty and broken families. We will introduce honesty in sentencing and pay voluntary and private providers to reduce re-offending. Build the Big Society We will use the state to help stimulate social action, helping social enterprises to deliver public services and training new community organisers to help achieve our ambition of every adult citizen being a member of an active neighbourhood group. We will direct funding to those groups that strengthen communities in deprived areas, and we will introduce National Citizen Service, initially for 16 year olds, to help bring our country together. Restore our civil liberties We will scale back Labour’s database state and protect the privacy of the public’s information. We will introduce a balanced approach to the retention of 4

people’s DNA and reform the criminal records system so it protects children without destroying trust. Give citizens more power We need to give people real control over how they are governed, so, with a Conservative government, any petition that secures 100,000 signatures will be eligible for formal debate in Parliament. Give people more power and control over their lives Our new ‘community right to buy’ scheme will give local people the power to protect any community assets that are threatened with closure. We will implement fully the Sustainable Communities Act, and reintroduce the Sustainable Communities Act (Amendment) Bill as government legislation, to give people greater information on, and control over, what is being spent by each government agency in their area.

National Citizen Service We will introduce new ways to increase philanthropy, and use the latest insights from behavioural economics to encourage people to make volunteering and community participation something they do on a regular basis. Neighborhood groups We will develop a measure of well-being that encapsulates the social value of state action. We will transform the civil service into a ‘civic service’ by making sure that participation in social action is recognised in civil servants’ appraisals. We will launch an annual Big Society Day to celebrate the work of neighbourhood groups and encourage more people to take part in social action.

Welsh Conservative party manifesto 2010 – extracts
Reduce welfare dependency We will scrap Labour’s failing employment schemes and create a single Work Programme for everyone who is unemployed, including the 2.6 million people claiming Incapacity Benefit who do not get enough help from existing programmes. Our Work Programme will offer people targeted, personalised help sooner – straight away for those with serious barriers to work and at six months for those aged under 25; be delivered through private and voluntary sector providers, which will be rewarded on a payment by results basis for getting people into sustainable work. Public service reform 5

Our public service reform programme will enable social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups to play a leading role in delivering public services and tackling deep-rooted social problems. We will strengthen and support social enterprises to help deliver our public service reforms by creating a Big Society Bank, funded from unclaimed bank assets, to provide new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other nongovernmental bodies. This will provide social enterprises with the start-up funding and support they need to bid for government contracts or work towards delivering services under a payment by results model. Britain has a proud and long-standing charitable tradition, and we are convinced that the voluntary sector should play a major part in our civic renewal. Conservatives in the Assembly will press for a fair deal on grants to give voluntary sector organisations more stability and allow them to earn a competitive return for providing public services. We will work with the Welsh Assembly Government and local authorities to promote the delivery of public services by social enterprises, charities and the voluntary sector. The National Lottery We will restore the National Lottery to its original purpose and, by cutting down on administration costs, make sure more money goes to good causes. The Big Lottery Fund will focus purely on supporting social action through the voluntary and community sector, instead of Ministers’ pet projects as at present. Sports, heritage and the arts will each see their original allocations of 20 per cent of good cause. Fight back against crime We will fight back against the crime and anti-social behaviour that blights our communities. We will take steps to reduce the causes of crime, like poverty and broken families. We will introduce honesty in sentencing and pay voluntary and private providers to reduce re-offending. With a Conservative government, when offenders leave prison, they will be trained and rehabilitated by private and voluntary sector providers, under supervision. National Citizen Service Even in these difficult times, the British people have demonstrated their desire to give money and time to good causes. We will introduce new ways to increase philanthropy, and use the latest insights from behavioural economics to encourage people to make volunteering and community participation something they do on a regular basis. Build the Big Society We will use the state to help stimulate social action, helping social enterprises to deliver public services and training new community organisers to help achieve our ambition of every adult citizen being a member of an active neighbourhood group. We will direct funding to those groups that strengthen communities in deprived areas, and we will introduce National Citizen Service, initially for 16 year olds, to help bring our country together. Neighbourhood groups

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To stimulate social action further, we will provide funding from the Big Society Bank to intermediary bodies with a track record of supporting and growing social enterprises.

Liberal Democrat party manifesto 2010 - extracts
Fair treatment at work for everyone There are far too many barriers to work for people with disabilities. We will change this by giving disabled job seekers better practical help to get to work, using voluntary and private sector providers, as well as JobCentre Plus services. We will also reform Access to Work, so disabled people can apply for jobs with funding already in place for equipment and adaptation that they need. Helping families stay strong Every child deserves a happy life free from poverty and free from fear. Liberal Democrats will strengthen the Youth Service by making it a statutory service, and by encouraging local authorities to provide youth services in partnership with young people and the voluntary sector. Supporting the voluntary sector As Liberal Democrats, we are committed to handing power back to local communities. We believe that society is strengthened by communities coming together and engaging in voluntary activity, which sets people and neighbourhoods free to tackle local problems. Liberal Democrats will support the voluntary sector by: Introducing ‘easy giving accounts’ at publicly-owned banks to allow people to operate charitable giving accounts alongside their current accounts. Reforming Gift Aid to operate at a single rate of 23 percent – giving more money to charity while closing down a loophole for higher rate tax payers. Reforming the process of criminal record checking so that volunteers need only one record that is portable, rather than multiple checks for each activity. Supporting mutuals, co-ops and social enterprises We believe that mutuals, co-operatives and social enterprises have an important role to play in the creation of a more balanced and mixed economy. Mutuals give people a proper stake in the places they work, spreading wealth through society, and bringing innovative and imaginative business ideas to bear on meeting local needs. We will: Give financial regulators a clear objective of maintaining a diversity of providers in the financial services industry. Seek to turn Northern Rock into a building society. Give both Royal Mail and post offices a long-term future, by separating Post Office Ltd from the Royal Mail and retaining Post Office Ltd in full public ownership. 49 percent of Royal Mail will be sold to create funds for investment. The ownership of the other 51 percent will be divided between an employee trust and the government. 7

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Encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefit from the power produced. Pass a new Mutuals, Co-operatives and Social Enterprises Bill to bring the law up to date and give responsibility for mutuals to a specific minister. Freeing schools for excellence Liberal Democrats want an education system where all schools will have the freedom to innovate, not be dictated to by central government. Give all schools the freedom to innovate. We will ensure a level playing field for admissions and funding and replace Academies with our own model of ‘Sponsor-Managed Schools’. These schools will be commissioned by and accountable to local authorities and not Whitehall, and would allow other appropriate providers, such as educational charities and parent groups, to be involved in delivering state-funded education. Restoring your freedoms Liberal Democrats will protect and restore your freedoms. We will restore the right to protest by reforming the Public Order Act to safeguard non-violent protest even if it offends; and restrict the scope of injunctions issued by vested interests. Access to culture and sport Liberal Democrats will reform the National Lottery. We will change the way the National Lottery is taxed from a ticket tax to a gross profits tax, which is forecast to deliver more for good causes and the Exchequer.

Plaid Cymru party manifesto 2010 - extracts
Educating the nation We will campaign for a National Citizenship Service for Wales, a voluntary scheme in which young people may complete a year of volunteer work before leaving education. We believe that this will help young people develop a sense of public duty. Investing in innovation Plaid Cymru is fully committed to encouraging the development of communityowned social enterprises and welcomes the Rowlands review into the provision of growth capital. That review recognised that a vibrant SME sector is vital for economic growth. There is a lack of provision for companies looking for between £2 and £10 million in capital (though we believe that in Wales there may be a need for a lower threshold). Plaid’s prescriptions for health Plaid Cymru calls for all powers over mental health to be devolved to the National Assembly. We reaffirm our commitment to Community Wellbeing Centres across Wales and evening surgeries for GPs.

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