So what are we all to make of the Autumn Statement?
Well the short-hand for it all, according to national narrators in the Guardian such as Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Charity Finance Group (CFG) 'the voluntary sector had been largely overlooked in the statement' with a worrying absence of any recognition of the countrywide increased role our sector is playing in supporting the increasingly vulnerable.
There was some good news for parts of our sector however, as highlighted by NCVO with the statement confirming a further £102m for armed forces and emergency services charities over the next four years and £3m for women’s charities from the tampon tax.
There was also some good news around Gift Aid as picked up in the analysis by our national body NAVCA.
Perhaps though we should be looking at the responses from other sectors, with Local Authority responses across the land pointing to what was not said within the Autumn Statement. The glaring omission being the increasing pressures upon social care.
The fact that the Autumn Statement has failed to recognise, let alone attempt to address, the fact that we are facing a social care crisis across the land AND completely overlooked the contribution of our sector does not bode well.
From within our membership in Warwickshire the amazing range of organisations and groups who, often with little financial resources, help people to keep their heads above water in very challenging times never cease to reassure me of the strength of our communities. From member organisations and groups working in the areas of mental health, supporting young people, supporting ex-offenders to build new lives, supporting ex-service men and women, supporting survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence, supporting carers - aged 5 to 95 - who save our economy a fortune every year... to the individual activists and volunteers who make a difference every day to the lives of individuals and the communities of many through their freely given time and service.
Looking at this year's Autumn Statement I am reminded of a speech I recently heard from Neil McInroy at CLES the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, a hugely engaging speaker and dynamic individual who pointed to the examples of other countries in how to establish a sustainable economy and pointed to South Korea - now that got my attention. The reason South Korea was being pointed to? Well apparently in South Korea investment in economic capital or 'infrastucture'; business, airports roads etc is mirrored by an equal investment in social capital. Why? Well, because they understand that social capital is both an economic input and an economic output.
Now that would be an Autumn Statement to read wouldn't it?
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