Thursday, 15 April 2010

And now the Lib Dems...

So now Nick Clegg completes the set. You will forgive me if I fail to do other Parties unless I spot that they have any policies on the third sector. Couldn't see any in UKIP!

The central argument in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto is that we need to ‘hard-wire fairness back into national life’, particularly by reforming the tax and schools systems, the economy and politics. Specific policies likely to affect the third sector include:

*Reforming Gift Aid by introducing a composite rate for basic and higher-rate taxpayers of 23%.

We like the composite rate - but 23% is to low.

*Reforming the process of criminal record checking so that volunteers need only one record that is portable, rather than multiple checks for each activity

*introducing ‘easy giving accounts’ at publicly-owned banks to allow people to operate charitable giving accounts alongside current accounts

There are a range of proposals to encourage a greener approach, such as;

*A £3.1 billion, one-year-long green economic stimulus and job creation package

*Encouraging community-owned renewable energy schemes

*Making the UK carbon neutral by 2050 and work with international partners to fight climate change and protect the environment

*Implementing the Sustainable Communities Act Amendment Bill, giving local communities the right to propose actions in their area to improve sustainability.

As with the other parties mutualism seems very much flavour of the month:

*Supporting mutuals, cooperatives and social enterprises to play a role in a more balanced economy, including by passing a new Mutuals, Cooperatives and Social Enterprises Bill ‘to bring the law up to date’ and giving responsibility for mutuals to a specific Minister;

They look at public service reform and a wider role for the sector , though they are much less specific than the others here:

*Public service reform, particularly in the NHS and education, where more charities would be enabled to run schools, and a role for third sector organisations in welfare to work.

There is an interesting proposal on The 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”

They propose setting up a capital fund for improving local sports facilities, using cash in dormant betting accounts. Seems like they have hit on another dormant account to raid. But why not put that into a Social Investment Bank as well? They appear silent on the role of social finance. A shame!

*There is a commitment to end child poverty by 2020, reduce child maltreatment 70% by 2030, make the Youth Service statutory and encourage local authorities to provide youth services in partnership with the third sector

*In social care, setting up an independent commission to develop proposals for long-term care funding, and “offer a week’s respite for the one million carers who spend 50 hours every week looking after a sick relative”

*Improving access to banking with a PostBank, with the Post Office closure programme halted, and capping interest rates for credit cards and store cards

*Spending 0.7% of national income on international aid by 2013,

#prioritising “health and education programmes which aim to promote gender equality, reduce maternal and infant mortality, and restrict the spread of major diseases”

*Democratising the police force, “making the justice system work to rehabilitate criminals”

I cannot say that there is a more coherent analysis of the role of the third sector here. But perhaps the sector has not engaged enough with the Lib Dems to ensure they have better policies on the sector.

Earlier today I got a note from Nick Hurd MP with an "open letter" for members setting out in more detail their policies on the sector and building on the Manifesto launch yesterday. See it here.

And as light relief from all this policy stuff I had my ACEVO Finance and Audit Committee this afternoon where I could immerse myself in the arcane details of our financial procedures: just what limit shall we set for two cheques signings?) And it's home to The Archers!

No comments: