Another busy week on the campaign trail has been dominated by the launch of manifestos, but there have been other things going on too.
Here’s our update on what we’ve been up to in the past week:
- Launching their Education Manifesto, Labour announced plans to increase access to careers advice and work experience in schools. In response, we called for these opportunities to give young people a way of learning more about the work of charities, so that they can learn about the integral role that voluntary organisations play in society. You can read what we said in here.
- The next day saw the rekindling of the Big Society, with David Cameron proposing to give workers three days paid leave a year for volunteering. We welcomed the policy and argued that businesses which give their employees the chance to engage in workplace volunteering benefit through increased productivity and loyalty.
- At the weekend we previewed the results of a survey of charities that we’d conducted, which found that only 2% of charities believed that political parties were communicating their vision for the future of the charity sector clearly. CAF’s Chief Executive John Low called on charities to use their manifestos to explain how their plans would help the sector. Did they do that? Keep reading.
- Labour were the first of the major GB-wide to release their manifesto, with Ed Miliband’s party promising to repeal the Lobbying Act, take action to get more young people involved in social action, and use models such as mutuals, co-ops and social enterprises to devolve power to individuals and communities.
- Next up were the Green Party. Natalie Bennett explained that her party wants to be a strong enabling force for the sector in government, with a focus on increasing support for social enterprises, greater use of cooperatives, and an increase on spending on overseas aid to 1% of GNI. Other measures including a commitment to removing charitable status from private schools.
- Shortly afterwards, David Cameron published the Conservative manifesto, including the aforementioned plans to boost volunteering. Elsewhere, the Conservatives commit to supporting young people give through the National Citizens Service and #iwill campaign, plan to increase the role of charities in delivering public services, and also widen the use of social impact bonds and payment-by-results models.
- Wednesday meant the turn of the Liberal Democrats. Joining the other major parties, Nick Clegg committed his party to promoting social action and volunteering at school, college and university. The Lib Dems also plan to widen the involvement of charities in providing public services – particularly in health and social care – and pledge to encourage more people to engage in social action.
- The final party to launch their manifesto this week were UKIP. Nigel Farage announced plans to exempt foodbanks and charity shops from waste charges and get charities involved in working closely with older people and veterans. Elsewhere, UKIP also plan to clamp down on ‘fake charities,’ abolish the ‘Big Society’ programme, and get rid of the National Citizens Service.
For a look at where parties might agree and disagree with one another, you can read our summary on Civil Society here.
With just three weeks now until polling day, those involved in the campaign will be looking forward to a good rest. Unfortunately that might not prove to be the case. Apparently the Civil Service has a deadline of the 18th May for the formation of a government – a failure to reach that target would see them recommend to the Prime Minister that he repeal the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act with an eye on triggering another election in mid-July. With that meaning campaigners have only ten days to recover before getting out on the doorstep again, buying shares in shoe companies might be the way forward….