General election manifestos guide for charities

With the Labour Party or Conservative Party set to form the next government after July 4’s general election, charities will be particularly keen to assess their ambitions for the sector.

Each of their manifestos provide a reasonable steer for how they will work with civil society.

Here we summarise the key points, with links to our full articles on each.

In addition, we look at charity mentions in the Lib Dems and Green Party manifestos as both parties look to gain seats and increase their influence in parliament.

Labour Party

Charities can expect to have a greater say in how policy is decided, and laws are made, should the Labour Party gain power next month.

Its manifesto pledges the party “will consult fully” if elected with charities in decision making in areas including employment law, tackling child poverty, improving the environment and phasing out animal testing.

This cements a speech given by Labour leader Keir Starmer earlier this year calling for a “renewed social contract” offering greater involvement of charities in decision making. He also criticised culture war attacks by right wing politicians on the work of among others the RNLI and National Trust.

Meanwhile, the manifesto also reiterates that improvement in state schools will be funded by ending tax breaks for private schools.

However, while the party is committed to increasing the UK’s international aid budget, this will only happen “when fiscal circumstances allow”.

See also: Labour Party Manifesto pledges to consult with charity sector on legislation

Conservative Party

The charity sector is also a focus of the Conservative Party’s manifesto. But while Labour’s manifesto pledges to involve charities in decision making, the Conservatives’ focus is more on their funding.

Its manifesto signals that should the party win in July its government will “find opportunities to unleash” philanthropic giving for good causes and cultural institutions”.

This echoes Conservative government minister concerns raised earlier this year that philanthropy is too concentrated in the South of England and London, and too often controversial donations, such as those from fossil fuel firms, are being shunned.

The completion of the government’s review of Gift Aid is also promised.

In addition, the Conservative’s previously announced policy of bringing back National Service is included. This aims to force 18-year-olds to either spend a year in a defence role or give up their weekends in roles including “special constable, NHS responder or RNLI volunteer”.

See also: Conservative’s manifesto pledges 'to find opportunities to unleash’ philanthropy

Liberal Democrat Party

Should the Liberal Democrats gain power or influence, charities and community groups could be handed a greater role in the running of local services.

Its manifesto wants charities and community groups to have a role in the running of water companies, delivering care, supporting domestic abuse survivors, supervising offenders in the community and helping refugees.

While Labour and the Conservative manifestos give an uncertain timescale on restoring the international aid budget, the Lib Dems have pledged to return it to 0.7% of gross national income immediately. The party also wants to restore a separate international development department within government.

Scrapping the Conservative government’s controversial protest laws, which have been criticised by charities, is another pledge made by the Liberal Democrats.

See also: Lib Dems' manifesto calls for greater local role for community and voluntary groups

Green Party

The Green Party is not only looking to restore the international aid budget but go further and increase it to 1% of gross national income by 2033.

Its manifesto contains further changes to international aid, to ensure that local people have a say in how money is spent. This takes on board increasing calls in the sector for charities to “decolonise” their operations to help tackle racism and give communities more control over how aid is used.

As with the Lib Dems the Green Party is looking to scrap anti-protest laws brought in by the Conservative Party.

See also: Green Party calls for ‘significant’ international aid budget hike to 1% of GNI

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