Campaign groups issue manifestos

Legislative change and policy to tackle social exclusion were
among demands of campaign groups which have published manifestos in
the run-up to the general election.

Homelessness charities have called for legislation to combat
social exclusion, including a call by Centrepoint for a better deal
for socially excluded young people. Meanwhile, Shelter demanded a
10-year plan to provide affordable housing and the revival of the
Homes Bill, which was dropped last week. The rural services
partnership, part of the Local Government Association, wants rural
councils to dedicate land for the sole use of low cost social

Children’s charities NSPCC, Child Poverty Action Group and
Barnardo’s have united with 50 other children’s organisations to
issue a joint manifesto demanding regional children’s
commissioners, a cabinet minister for children and improved access
to services for disadvantaged young people.

Mental health charity Mencap wants legislative change, including
the strengthening of the law relating to sexual offences, and the
introduction of a new “abuse of trust” law to ban sex between care
staff and those they care for.

Organisations campaigning for older people have placed free
social care at the top of their agenda for the new government. Help
the Aged has issued a challenge card calling for free health and
social care according to need, and Age Concern is encouraging the
electorate to ask prospective candidates whether they support
making nursing and personal care free of charge.

Cerebal Palsy charity Scope and the British Council of Disabled
People have both proposed the government should end charging for
all home care services in their manifestos. Meanwhile deafblind
charity Sense has urged investment to raise the status and pay of
social care work.

The care homes lobby group the National Care Coalition has also
called for better pay for care staff, while the National Council
for Voluntary Organisations wants a firm commitment to the
abolition of VAT for charities.

The Howard League for Penal Reform wants the government to take
children out of prisons, and to promote safer communities through
social and economic policies.

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