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Volume 463: debated on Monday 23 July 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Government’s policy on funding for the third sector. (149512)

Recent surveys indicate that Government funding for the voluntary sector has doubled between 1996-97 (£5 billion) and 2004-05 (£10 billion). Initiatives like Futurebuilders, Capacitybuilders, the Invest to Save budget, expansion of Gift Aid (which currently provides £838 million to the third sector) and the new youth volunteering charity, v, have helped build the sector’s ability to make a real difference in local communities. In November 2006, the Government launched an action plan for social enterprise which committed £18 million to supporting social enterprises achieve their social, environmental and economic goals and proposals on their access to finance.

The Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 review into “The future role of the third sector in social and economic regeneration” is to be published later this month and followed a one-year consultation with the sector. The interim report of the review, published in December 2006, recognised that there was more to do to improve the relationship between Government and the third sector which included ensuring that there is stable and longer-term funding. The interim report announced a £30 million community assets fund and in addition an £80 million grants scheme for small community organisation was announced in Budget 2007.

The Government have also launched a consultation on considering measures to improve the take-up of Gift Aid on 23 June 2007.