Mixed bag from the coalition at Mid-Term Review, says NCVO

Written by Andrew Holt

With the Government issuing its Mid-Term Review, taking stock of progress made in implementing the Coalition agreement signed in May 2010, the NCVO said the coalition has done some things right, but in other areas, the coalition hasn’t done enough.

Deputy CEO of NCVO, Ben Kernighan said: “The country faces long term cuts in public spending and many people are struggling financially. We have less money, but more problems.

“The Prime Minister was right to recognise that in these circumstances charities can and should play a bigger role. He called this the Big Society. Charities are crucial in these difficult times as they understand what support people need to get by. They play a vital role in ensuring that limited public resources are spent well and engage millions of volunteers in helping to create a better society.

“The coalition government has done some things right: extending the gift aid scheme to small donations through recent legislation, setting up a new Big Society Bank, and making checks on volunteers easier.

"But in other areas, the coalition hasn’t done enough: too many public service contracts are not appropriate to voluntary organisations: they are too big or require charities to have too much money in the bank. In addition, too many public bodies are cutting charity budgets more deeply than their own.

"For the Prime Minister’s vision to be achieved he will have to change how commissioning is done, provide more support and training for volunteers and stop public bodies cutting charities disproportionately.”

The review reflected on the Government’s progress in building a "stronger, more balanced economy and a fair society" in which everyone can rise as high as their aspirations and talents take them.

The Mid-Term Review also highlights a new set of reforms: these include supporting working families with childcare costs and helping to make the dream of home ownership a reality for more people.

Meanwhile, reforms to provide dignity in old age are to be outlined, including an improved state pension that rewards saving, and more help with the costs of long-term care.

The Prime Minister David Cameron and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “We are dealing with the deficit, rebuilding the economy, reforming welfare and education and supporting hard working families through tough times.

“And on all of these key aims, our parties, after 32 months of coalition, remain steadfast and united. Of course there have been some issues on which we have not seen eye to eye, and no doubt there will be more. That is the nature of coalition.

“But on the things that matter most – the big structural reforms needed to secure our country’s long term future – our resolve and sense of shared purpose have, if anything, grown over time.

“At the half-way point in the parliament, we are taking stock of the progress we have made in implementing the coalition agreement that we signed in May 2010.

"But we are also initiating a new set of reforms, building on those already underway, to secure our country’s future and help people realise their ambitions.”

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