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Voluntary Sector

Volume 537: debated on Wednesday 14 December 2011

We are supporting the sector through this difficult time by cutting red tape, investing in transition funds for infrastructure and front-line organisations, creating significant new opportunities for the sector to deliver public services, and supporting new initiatives to encourage giving and social investment.

The Roots project in Westhoughton in my constituency has been praised by the Government as a beacon of the big society, but Liz Douglas, the founder, has had no wages for six months. Words are no good. When will the Minister take action to support the voluntary and community sector?

The hon. Lady knows that we have taken a great deal of action, not least by putting in place a £107 million transition fund to help the most vulnerable organisations. If she is talking about cuts being made locally by Bolton council, she will know that the reduction in its spending this year was only 7%. The questions that she has to ask Bolton council are: “Why were you so badly prepared for this situation?” and: “Why did you block a proposal from Conservative councillors to create a fund to support local voluntary organisations?”