The minister for charities has been urged to reverse the ‘savage’ cuts, estimated at £3.3 billion, to the community and voluntary sector implemented by the last government.
Unite, the country’s largest union with 60,000 members in the sector, called on the minister for civil society Rob Wilson to consider the damage inflicted on the sector since 2010 and to create ‘a genuine partnership that will see charities and community organisations regain their identity and flourish again’.
Unite will be writing to organisations across the sector with a view to creating a new consensus on how to protect and strengthen the sector.
To kick-off the debate Unite has launched a strategy document: A strong voluntary and community sector – the foundation for a thriving society.
The key issues for Unite are the restoration of the sector’s funding and rebuilding the independence of the not for profit organisations, freed from government interference.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) – the umbrella body for the 160,000 charities in England - predicted in 2012 that the projected shortfall for charities would be £3.3 billion between 2010 and 2015.
Unite national officer for the sector Sally Kosky said: “What has happened to the voluntary sector over the last five years is that there has been a vice-like squeeze with a savage reduction in funding, coupled with increased political meddling.
“There needs to be a fundamental rethink by the new government in its attitude to the sector – and this would mean a reversal of the funding cuts and a loosening of the government’s corset of political controls.
“We need a commitment to rebuild the identity and independence of community and voluntary organisations under pressure from increased political interference and co-option into public service delivery that takes them away from their founding purpose and ethos.
“Unite members working in the sector are clear that there is an urgent need for a new direction.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.