In its new Civil Society Strategy, the Labour Party commits to increase grant funding for charities and establish a new fund for local communities with the proceeds of dormant financial assets.
After months of consultation with charity, community and social enterprise leaders, the Labour Party today unveiled a high level strategy document to inform its future policy for civil society. Shadow Minister for Civil Society Steve Reed MP led the development of the strategy.
From Paternalism to Participation calls for civil society to be at the heart of a programme of national renewal, as divisions across UK society and politics remain stark in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The document contains a number of proposals to give communities more control over local assets, including a ‘Right to Space’ (facilities where people can meet) and a ‘Right to Control’ (allowing communities to take over unused or neglected assets).
There are many other initiatives that will be of interest to charities and voluntary groups, such as a new Community Empowerment Charter to replace the Lobbying Act, a ban on gagging clauses in grants and contracts, and a review of the Social Value Act.
The Directory of Social Change (DSC), which hosts the Grants for Good Campaign to reverse the decline in public grants for the sector, highlighted fresh commitments on grants and funding for communities, and the focus on people and communities empowering themselves.
DSC Director of Policy and Research Jay Kennedy said: ‘we’re absolutely thrilled to see the new commitment to increase grants to ensure smaller charities can benefit, and to use funding from dormant financial assets to support community organisations and projects. Members of the Grants for Good campaign and many others have been working extremely hard to make the case on both fronts. This is just the beginning of course and there much more work to do and details to be ironed out. We hope and expect these commitments to be part of Labour’s next election manifesto.’
Kennedy also highlighted another commitment in the paper to a Shared Prosperity Fund to replace EU social funds after Brexit, saying: ‘the current Government promised to consult about the future of EU funding last year, but there’s been nothing but radio silence for months. Labour has now made a bold statement on a pressing issue for communities across the UK, by committing to having civil society at the heart of this fund. Will this finally stir some Brexit-addled Ministers into action?’
For more information please contact Jay Kennedy, Directory of Social Change by email ([email protected]) or phone (07989 187 537).