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Charities call for action on reform

By Vivienne Russell | 27 March 2012

Third sector leaders have called on the government not to lose sight of the public service reform agenda, following a Budget that made little mention of it.

The Red Book promised an internal Treasury review of the financial barriers faced by social enterprises, but there was little for the third sector in the Budget.

Ralph Michell, director of strategy at the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, told Public Finance that the government needed to send a message that it was still serious about ‘continued and vigorous’ public service reform. A starting point should be implementation of Andrew Dilnot’s social care proposals, he added.

‘The Treasury review needs to take us beyond where we are now and, by the Autumn Statement, move towards concrete measures,’ Michell said.

‘Public sector reform has to be central to growth in the sense of greater public sector productivity and because, if you take out £80bn from public services and you don’t also reform them, the inevitable result is worse outcomes for individuals and higher costs for the state.’

Charities are also concerned that caps on income tax relief could discourage wealthy individuals from donating.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: ‘Eight per cent of donors give almost half of the amount that is given to charities every year, so this measure could have very serious consequences.'

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