Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saying one thing, but promising to do the opposite

Today Chris Grayling made a speech about 'fixing Britain's broken society'. There was very little that was new in it, and once again he paid tribute to the work of 'the voluntary sector groups who can make so much difference in local communities', and spoke about how important it was to support them.

One certain effect of George Osborne's announcement at this conference about freezing the levels of council tax, however, is that these kinds of voluntary and community groups will end up getting less money. Councils spend a lot of money on grants for voluntary and community groups, and so spending freezes or cuts always end up reducing the amount of money available to these organisations.

Of course, there are ways of making sure this doesn't happen. To get the cash from central government, councils could have to prove that the spending reductions that they've made don't involve cuts for groups making a difference in local communities, or the money could be made available to councils which choose to prioritise supporting voluntary sector groups over council tax cuts. But as things stand, the Tories are saying one thing about helping people, but have policies which would do the opposite if they win power.

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