NCVO's response to the corporate spending review (CSR)
NCVO's Chief Executive, Sir Stuart Etherington, has responded to measures set out in the Government’s spending review relating to the voluntary and community sector. These include the announcement of a new £100 million transitional fund, and additional resources to implement the Big Society agenda.
His response came after Chancellor George Osborne unveiled details of how the coalition will achieve the promised cuts of £83 billion in public spending. Sir Stuart said:
"We should be under no illusions: the coming months will be difficult for the people and communities we work to support."
Among the details announced were:
- £470m over the next four years will go towards building the voluntary sector's capacity so that it can deliver the government's Big Society agenda. This will provide 5,000 new community organisers, and a pilot for the National Citizen Service;
- of this, £100m transitional fund for to help the voluntary and community sector adjust to new public spending budgets;
- the core Cabinet Office budget will be reduced by £55 million by 2014/15;
- the Treasury will see its overall budget reduced by 33% and the department's building will be shared with the Cabinet Office;
- councils in England will face cuts of more than 28%, but they will have greater powers to borrow;
- £1 billion will be taken from the "protected" NHS budget in England to help meet the costs of social care;
- existing social housing tenants' rents will be unchanged but new tenants will be offered intermediate rents at around 80% of the market rent. Mr Osborne forecasts this will allow the building of up to 150,000 new affordable homes over four years;
- an extra £2 billion promised for social care by the end of the parliament;
- the state pension age will reach 66 in 2020, four years earlier than planned;
- benefits and tax credits will be replaced by a new universal credit over the next two parliaments;
- total health spending will rise each year over and above inflation from £104 billion this year to £114 billion over the next four years;
- the Department of Culture, Media and Sport budget will come down to £1.1 billion by 2014/15; administrative costs must be reduced by 41%, but free entry to museums and galleries will continue;
- Sure Start services will be protected in cash terms and 15 free hours of early education and care for all disadvantaged two-year-olds will be introduced;
- the green investment bank promised by the coalition will receive £1 billion in funding, half of what was expected and a sixth of the amount many say is needed.