Monday, 23 April 2012

More cuts on way!

So cheerful Danny Alexander MP tells departments to plan another 5% cuts. Well, we know who will bear the brunt of that! Last year we know that the third sector took cuts at twice the rate that the public sector did. So we can be sure that again we will bear the brunt of the new cuts round. And this is not a about our organisations, but about the services we provide. So vulnerable and excluded communities will once again take the pain.

Perhaps the Chancellor should bear this in mind as he contemplates the effect of his giving cap. As John Low reminds me, many of the family foundations that have been set up through wealthy philanthropists make generous contributions to local causes, to unpopular and excluded communities. A cap on giving hurts them,and not just the big national charities like the great cancer organisations.

I was asked onto BBC PM to respond to the comments from the Chancellor on Saturday. He said he wanted to talk to us so that we were not damaged by the cap. This is clearly welcome. But we need this matter resolved now- not in a languid summer consultation. I'm afraid I don't trust HMT. Maybe I'm cynical , but I suspect this is an attempt to get it off the headlines, then implement the change when they think it's no longer going to be noticed.

So Chancellor, let's talk now. Let's sort it. There is a deal to be made in lifting the cap on giving relief , but by ensuring there is no tax avoidance if they worry there are, as they suggest , dodgy charities and wealthy people trying to avoid paying tax by giving to dodgy charities.

The Giving Summit is now well and truly off the agenda. I think its looking like a Giving meeting- they have cancelled much of it and the PM is no longer coming. They could have saved it by sorting the issue quickly. A shame, but not surprising as this was all about a celebration of one year of the giving white Paper. And in one foul swoop the Governments giving agenda is in tatters.

Not much joy in any of this.

But a reminder of just how good our sector can be was demonstrated when I went to Liverpool on Thursday. I went to see Steve Hawkins, who runs " Local Solutions" which is a dynamic body supporting people in Liverpool, whether they are young or old; working in social care and training, jobs and advice and support for communities that are at the edge. They have grown from small beginnings in the 70s to be a stalwart of the local sector.

Steve had organised a meeting for me with leaders from other sector bodies. Prominent, as you would expect was the good Alan Lewis of Liverpool CVS. A good discussion. Highlighting the problems and the opportunities we face. A lively debate on payment by results. Needless to say the work programme and its many failings was much referenced! But I was upbeat. As Leaders we have to get out there and make the weather. Seek out opportunity for those we serve. And speak out for the marginalised. Increasingly our role defending communities will be needed.

And earlier I had been out to Crosby. My good friend and ACEVO member Liz Williams, who runs Sefton Carers, took me out to the Church where there is a vault with 8 members of the Limrick clan. Classed now as a War Grave because the young William Somerville Limrick died in action, just 26 on HMS Alanya in the dying months of the First World War.

He is commemorated on the grand Crosby war memorial. His Liverpool cousin Osborne Limrick was also killed in the trenches and is commemorated at Liverpool University. He is buried in France.

We need more sun!!!

Stephen Bubb


Roy Norris said...

I'm sure you are right to be worried about the Govts intentions. Even Private Eye is running stories about abuse of the Gift Aid system citing people like Elton John. But if there are dodgy charities out there, the Charity Commission should be strengthened to deal with abuse. Not pass the "blame" on to the rest of the largely blameless sector and the services it delivers.

Sir Stephen Bubb said...

Spot on Roy!

Anonymous said...

There are a certain class of charities that seem to be immune from Charity Laws. One of the most famous discussed her