The inside track: October 2021

Our latest update on what’s going on in Westminster that might impact charities, including various bills going through parliament, a new civil society minister and other reshuffle news.

Parliament

Charities bill

The charities bill is currently in Lords committee. We submitted a joint sector submission with the ACF, Charity Finance Group, Charity Retail Association, Directory of Social Change, Locality and WCVA.

The committee is currently taking oral evidence, before it starts scrutinising the bill in detail. We’ll be giving evidence on Thursday 14 October alongside ACF, before the committee hears from a panel of charity lawyers.

Police, crime, sentencing and courts bill

The police, crime, sentencing and courts bill has now reached the House of Lords. Significant concerns about the powers contained within the bill have been raised.

Elections bill

The elections bill is now in committee in the Commons. We’re keen to understand the impact of changes to rules around third party campaigners to charities, so that this can be reflected in the debate – this survey on the impact of the changes is open until Thursday 14 October.

Spending review

On 27 October the government will unveil the long-awaited (and delayed) spending review, and a budget. We’ve signed up to a joint sector submission setting out what we think are the key priorities for the sector and how we can support the recovery from the pandemic.

The levelling up white paper is expected to be published in the weeks after the spending review. As well as setting out the government’s approach to levelling up, the white paper is expected to provide more details of how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will operate.

NCVO co-ordinated a sector-wide response to the white paper, and this work has now been updated to focus on what we think should be prioritised.

People news

Nigel Huddleston has been named as the new minister for civil society, which will now sit alongside the sport and tourism briefs. Sport and civil society were also part of the same brief from 2017 to 2019, though we’ve highlighted the challenging workload this expanded role will present for the new minister.

Mr Huddleston was first elected as an MP in 2015 and became sport minister in 2020.

We also have a new secretary of state at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, with Nadine Dorries moving into the role, having previously served as a minister of state in the Department of Health.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

The biggest shake-up in the reshuffle came at the department formerly known as the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which has been rebranded to reflect the government’s focus on levelling up. Michael Gove will be the secretary of state with former charity tax minister Kemi Badenoch, and Neil O’Brien who has led the development of the levelling up white paper, also joining the department as ministers.

International development

Liz Truss now has responsibility for international development as she becomes foreign secretary. According to the Times she has challenged the Treasury on the settlement for international development negotiated by her predecessor Dominic Raab, who has been moved to the Ministry of Justice.

 

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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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