is calling on chancellor Alistair Darling to kick-start the
proposed Social Investment Bank (SIB) with a £50 million
Government cash injection, to help the voluntary sector deliver
essential frontline services during the recession.
The umbrella body says the chancellor has a golden opportunity
to underline the Government’s commitment to the sector
when he unveils his Budget next week, by making a significant
contribution to get the bank up and running.
NCVO argue that the deepening recession means there is
increasing demand for services provided by charities and
voluntary groups, but at the same time many charities face
increased pressure to access the funding they need.
Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive of NCVO, said: “The
Chancellor could throw a lifeline to the sector by showing
its commitment to developing the Social Investment Bank.
"This would give social enterprises and charities
much-needed access to capital to help develop their services.
With the recession biting hard, the need for the Government
to underline its support for the sector has never been greater.”
NCVO is also calling for the chancellor to announce additional
measures to help ensure charities and voluntary groups can
continue to provide essential frontline services during
the economic downturn.
· The creation of an ‘opt-out’ Gift
Aid system to increase voluntary sector income. This would
allow charities to claim tax back on all donations, unless
explicitly asked not to do so by donors.
· Additional resources for the voluntary sector
through the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) scheme to simplify
the transfer of assets, such as unused public buildings,
to charities. These assets can be transformed into projects
that empower local communities, such as providing accommodation
for the homeless or activity centres for disadvantaged children
and young people.
· A greater role for the voluntary sector to lead
the ‘green’ revolution. Any new investment in
sustainable industries should include charities and social
enterprises, which have been at the cutting edge of developing
solutions to tackling climate change.
The group’s call to action comes after Gordon Brown
recently announced he wanted to boost the efforts of charities
and voluntary organisations responding to the recession,
during a conference held at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Ben Kernighan added: “As the recession begins to
bite, the need for the Government to show its commitment
to the work of the not-for-profit sector has never been
"It will be the people who rely on vital services
provided by the sector who will suffer if the Chancellor
fails to announce measures to help charities meet the increase
in demand for their work, resulting from the global credit
As an employer of over 634,000 people and a provider of
essential services to communities, the voluntary sector
is vital to the UK’s economic health.