Councils must ensure charities do not bear the brunt of cuts so that the government’s Big Society goal of a more active voluntary sector is achieved, a Treasury minister has warned.
Mark Hoban, financial secretary to the Treasury, said government cuts should not damage the voluntary sector’s ability to provide services.
He made the call in a speech to voluntary sector bodies last week, amid mounting concerns over local authority cuts to charities. Two-thirds of social care charities have had their funding cut by councils this year, Community Care research released in January found.
Hoban said cuts should be made in a “careful and mindful way to ensure that we cushion the Big Society from cuts”.
Councils “needed to think carefully about where they do cut” and to look at back office functions first before hitting the frontline.
Though Hoban said the government could not “dictate to local authorities”, he added: “We’ve been very clear and Eric Pickles has articulated that charities, voluntary groups and not-for-profit organisations shouldn’t bear a disproportionate share of the pain.”
Pickles stepped up his attack on Labour-run councils over the weekend, accusing them of a “bleeding stump” strategy of cutting frontline services, instead of back office functions. Tory councils were successfully doing the opposite, he said.
Hoban was speaking at the launch of the Centre for Social Franchising by social care organisation the SCA Group. The centre will offer consultancy to community groups looking to set up social enterprises.
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Big Society won’t work for social care, says Welsh minister