Tuesday, 13 April 2010


So Labour have produced their Manifesto. But whoever chose that cover!! I do so hope it was not the wonderful Ed! The back to the Fifties theme was surely not what they were intending?

But what is fascinating is just how much there is on the sector and its role; in public service delivery, community empowerment, social investment, advocacy and voice. If you compare this 4th Labour Manifesto with the preceding three, going back to the '97 Manifesto, then this one has the richest and most promising manifest for our sector. I suspect this partly demonstrates the fact that Ed's first Ministerial job was as Third Sector Minister and also the power of our lobbying as a sector. ACEVO in particular has been working both in front and behind the scenes to ensure that the sector's leaders views were heard.

It was particularly pleasing to see that the role of social investment, a Social Investment Bank and impact bonds feature prominently (though frankly the £75m for the Bank is pathetic).

And the ACEVO hosted Better Banking Campaign has scored a big hit with practically all of the key aims of the campaign included in the Manifesto. The seminar held at No 10 a few months back certainly played dividends!

What the Manifesto says is worth repeating as it has not featured in the sector press.

We will introduce a universal service obligation on retail banks, so that all consumers with a valid address have a legal right to a basic bank account, and a right to redress if this is refused.

{DISCLOSURE} Banks will have to publicly report on the extent to which they are under-serving communities.

{CRA} And we will introduce a new levy on the banks to help fund a step-change in the scale of affordable lending by third-sector organisations, including a new partnership with the Post Office, offering an alternative to loan sharks and high-cost doorstep lending.

Over the lifetime of the next Parliament, as more affordable lending becomes available, we will clamp down on the interest rates and other fees charged by instant loan companies and payday or doorstep lenders, tackling the very high cost lending that hits low-income communities hardest. We will introduce a single regulator for consumer finance to restore confidence and trust with responsibility for the supervision of all unsecured lending being passed to the Financial Services Authority. And new rules governing how financial products are sold will be introduced with a crackdown on unfair terms in contracts

And the commitment on fair commissioning in service delivery is crucial to how we expand our delivery role.

So we now await the Tories. I suspect it will also be action packed.

And finally,

One of my staff found the most wonderful piss take of "Big Society". Malcolm Tucker from BBC's “The Thick of It” wrote;

"Big Society: This is going to be the next battlefield, apparently. Except, excuse me, but what the bucket-face is the Big Society.

Is it like the Wine Society except for fat lads and lasses? What does it mean? The Cubs doing coronary bypasses? Tax disc with your Planet Earth DVD? Bono in charge of the West Coast Mainline? Cardinal O'Dodgy gets to run a kiddies home? The Scientologists do the RAC and the RAC run housing benefit? That's what's going to mend Broken Britain and let them cut Government spending by a quarter? They're using a corner-shop bag to carry Howitzer shells. It's going to fall apart. Put it under the spotlight

Not that I approve. But it is amusing!

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