The inside track: February 2021

Our latest update on what’s going on in Westminster that might impact charities, including the #RightNow campaign, and Oliver Dowden’s heritage summit.

Parliament

The Budget

With many sectors and causes looking for the government to provide more support to get through the pandemic, most campaigners’ focus at the moment will be on next week’s Budget. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the exchequer, is expected to extend existing covid support schemes, but hopes of specific charity sector support were this week dampened by civil society minister Baroness Barran.

We are supporting the #RightNow campaign, which focuses on the work being done by charities in supporting communities during this crisis, and the need for support as charities once again see their fundraising opportunities limited by lockdown.

There’s still time for MPs to raise this issue on behalf of charities in their constituency and put pressure on the government to act to make sure charities are able to play a full role in the recovery, so please consider contacting your local MP about the campaign and the challenges your organisation is facing if you haven’t already.

Heritage summit

25 leading heritage organisations this week met with culture secretary Oliver Dowden, after being summoned to discuss contested heritage. A working group has been set up to agree guidelines on how the government’s ‘retain and explain’ policy, which states controversial monuments and ideas should be contextualised rather than removed.

There have been concerns that the summit is part of an increasing tendency for the government to seek out conflict over ‘culture war’ issues, and potentially threatens the independence of organisations, including charities, that operate in this space.

NCVO’s head of networks and influencing Alex Farrow recently set out some of the principles around how charities can engage in political issues.

People news

Rough sleeping and housing minister Kelly Tolhurst has stood down for family reasons. Her replacement is Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes, who prior to his election worked for YMCA Birmingham, and has chaired a housing association.

Other appointments

  • Former civil society minister Nick Hurd has been appointed to the board of the National Citizen Service Trust, alongside Jacquie Nnochiri and Deborah Tavana.

Consultations and inquiries

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Chris is NCVO’s public affairs manager, focusing on parliamentary work. He started his career working for several MPs in Parliament, and has also worked in public affairs and policy roles for the Federation of Small Businesses.

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