Policy News

NAVCA: The Autumn Budget 2017
Local infrastructure & charity – a summary of relevant points
The Budget largely ignored local infrastructure and charities, containing little that is directly relevant to the sector. Whilst much of the Budget was centred around business and physical infrastructure (e.g. roads, rail, bricks and mortar), there was no commitment made to supporting social infrastructure and no mention of increasing spending on many key public services such as social care.

Charity and local infrastructure - what’s included:

  • There will be changes to Gift Aid from April 2019, simplifying the system and reducing the three current donation thresholds down to two.
  • Insurance premium tax rates have been frozen until at least 2022/23. This is good news for charities following speculation that a rise would be likely and that this in turn would result in charities having less money to spend on charitable activity.

Key omissions:

  • We were not given details on how Brexit will impact the EU funding that charities receive, or what will replace this funding once the UK leaves the EU.
  • There were no measures announced to support voluntary and community groups, to boost social enterprise or to encourage increased volunteering.
  • Over the past few years the Charity Commission’s Budget has been almost halved; slashed from £40m to around £21m. Further cuts are expected and Government has also plans to consult on proposals to charge charities to meet this shortfall. The Budget made no reference whatsoever to the under resourced Charity Commission, or how its funding gap will be plugged.
  • The Commission on Dormant Assets recently outlined that between £1-2bn dormant financial and non-financial assets could be put to social use, putting resources in the hands of communities to solve their own problems. However, the Budget lacked any reference to how dormant assets could help local communities.
  • The UK’s social care system is stretched to crisis point: Alarmingly, the budget made no acknowledgement of this and no commitment to for much needed increased spending on key services such as mental health and the care of older people.

The omission of the voluntary and community sector from the Budget is short-sighted, and demonstrates a Government standpoint that economic growth is dependent on GDP growth, business and investment in physical infrastructure. This budget has ignored that prosperity is also dependent upon strong, sustainable and well supported communities, and that charities, voluntary and community groups play an invaluable role in fostering these. Read NAVCA's full summary document for more detail on the key points of the Autumn Budget 2017. 

Let's make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world

There is a new plan for Greater Manchester. It’s called Our People, Our Place.  It has been written by all 10 councils, the Mayor, the NHS, transport, the police and the fire service, with help from businesses, voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, and members of the public.  The plan explains our ambitions for the future of our city-region and the 2.8 million of us who live in the towns, cities, communities and neighbourhoods that make up Greater Manchester.
It covers health, wellbeing, work and jobs, housing, transport, skills, training and economic growth. We believe when we look at these things together we can make real changes.  Click here to read the summary.  

Blueprint for the Future of Greater Manchester Revealed
A bold new vision to make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old has been unveiled.  Click here to find out more about the clear priorities to achieve this goal.

The Impact Homelessness has on Health
An important read to increase our awareness of the impact of homelessness and recommendations of what can be achieved through commissioning and collective responsibility.  Important learning for Local Authorities but also a reminder to all sectors of the impact and of what needs to be considered to achieve the GM Mayor Andy Burnham’s pledge to eradicate rough sleeping in Greater Manchester by 2020.  Read more.  

The Golden Generation - Wellbeing and Inequalities in Later Life Report
An insightful report highlighting inequalities in relation to well being in later life.  It explores the very different experiences of those who are affluent to those with a lower income and the impact of poor health and bereavement on well being.  Current policy changes are thought to be increasing these inequalities and there is a recommendation that these are rethought.  Find out about the key findings of the research.  

Update on Bolton’s Mental Health Strategic Developments

At the Voluntary Sector Mental Health Forum Scoping Event, at the beginning of June, Rachael Sutton from NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group delivered this update

Children's Commissioner - on measuring the number of vulnerable children in England

A report has been published by Children's Commissioner, the report provides preliminary and experimental estimates of the number of vulnerable children.  Read more on the findings.

Patterns of poverty in Greater Manchester’s neighbourhoods - Analysis of small area poverty estimates for 2014 - Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit, May 2017

In April 2017 the Office for National Statistics published a set of model-based estimates of poverty for areas across England and Wales.  This information can be used to assess differences in the proportion of households in poverty between different areas. Click here to see details of the findings for Greater Manchester.

How Greater Manchester compares to the national average 

·         Just 153 (44%) of the areas in Greater Manchester had poverty rates below the national average. In 22 neighbourhoods household poverty rates were at least twice the national average of 15.6%.

·         At Greater Manchester level, 100 areas had household poverty rates that put them among the 20% of areas s with the highest poverty rates nationally.  Just over a third of these (35%) were in Manchester local authority area, Oldham and Bolton had the next largest groupings, though not on the same scale as in Manchester (13 and 14 respectively).

How is a household defined as income poor?

In 2013/14 a household was defined as income poor if its weekly equalised income (Before Housing Costs) was less than £272. Once housing costs are taken into account, the threshold below which households were defined as poor fell to £232. The number of people living in a household is also taken into account.

What areas does the report refer to?

 The data provided in this report is for Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs), or areas that contain around 3,000 households. MSOAs have been created to enable comparison of outcomes between areas of similar size, so they do not necessarily correlate with local conceptions of what constitutes a neighbourhood. There are 7,201 MSOAs in England and Wales, of which 346 are in Greater Manchester. 

Greater Manchester Ageing Conference Report
The report of the Greater Manchester Ageing Conference 2017 calls for ageing to be a central part of mainstream policy and practice in the region. The sell-out February conference organised by the Ageing Hub brought together 273 individuals representing 129 difference organisations to be a platform for taking action across GM agencies and communities.

Charities are vital in a changing world

Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society Report  - House of Lords Select Committee on Charities
The House of Lords select committee on charities has now published its report, entitled Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society.  This is a substantial, wide-ranging and important piece of work that should and will shape our sector going forward  click here further information and a summary of the recommendations from NCVO

There are 42 recommendations in the report.  They cover governance, finance and funding (including grant funding and core costs), public service delivery and contracting, digital, volunteering, campaigning and advocacy, and regulation.   

Spring Budget 2017
The Chancellor announced the Spring Budget 2017, for a summary of how this may affect the voluntary and community sector.