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PM asks councils: "Don't prioritise vol sector cuts"

photo of David Cameron

The Prime Minister asks councils to work with voluntary groups, and not to make cuts to the sector a first priority

In response to a question in the House of Commons about cuts to a local voluntary sector group, David Cameron said that

'.. we should say to every single council in the country, "When it comes to looking at and trimming your budgets, don't do the easy thing, which is to cut money to the voluntary bodies and organisations working in our communities. Look at your core costs. Look at how you can do more for less. Look at the value for money you get from working with the voluntary sector." ' (Hansard 15- September, 2010 column 877)

Unfortunately, as commentators have pointed out, one of the other  principles of the Coalition is that decisions - including spending decisions - should be made at a local level where possible, without unnecesary interference from Whitehall. So the PM is asking, not instructing, councils to take this approach.

And the government itself seems to be pe-judging its own spending review of next month. Nick Hurd (Minister for Civil Society)  has already said that he wants to reduce the voluntary sector's dependence on the state, and the Office for Civil Society's direct grants to its Strategic Partners (mostly national infrastucture bodies) have already been cut by 40% from next March.