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Charities Aid Foundation


22 May 2017

In what we expect to be another manifesto-heavy week, the Green Party has kicked off Monday by releasing their manifesto and their policies for the general election. Slimmer than those of the other parties, their plans have – unsurprisingly – a focus on Brexit, and the environment. Here’s what we’ve learned…

  • The Green Party proposes increasing the UK’s aid contribution to 1% of GDP. Whilst all other parties so far have committed to retaining the 0.7% commitment, the Green Party takes it further. That the cross-party consensus on international aid is growing will be welcomed by international development charities which do such important work, providing support to countries with the greatest need.
  • Plans to educate young people and encourage them to become active citizens offer potential for charities. We know from CAF research that many young people want to support charities or causes that they care passionately about but sometimes do not have the information about how to best turn that enthusiasm into concrete action. Getting young people engaged in charity at an early age can lead to a lifetime commitment to supporting good causes. Any education about active citizenship must include a focus on charity.
  • The Green Party commits to introducing legislation to incorporate the environmental protections that have been introduced at a European level. With much of the focus of the Brexit process on international relations, it is important that the colossal domestic task of bringing European and British law together is not overlooked. Many charities have been involved in shaping the law at European level, and they must be given the opportunity to make the case to legislators about why these measures must now be incorporated into the UK. This is particularly true for environmental measures, but equally for elements of social policy.
  • As with all of the manifestos that have been released so far, the Green Party promise to tackle many of the challenges that the country faces without explicitly acknowledging the role that charities can play in helping to tackle them. Of particular note are focuses on mental health – include providing training to increase awareness – and improving community cohesion. Both of these areas should see a core role for charities, and it is disappointing that their potential contribution appears to have been overlooked.
  • The blackout surrounding the charity sector continues. Once again, there is no mention of volunteering or giving. On the day of the voter registration deadline, politicians of all parties would do well to remember that many people use charities to demonstrate their active citizenship all year round. The importance of donors and volunteers to communities across the country cannot be taken for granted, and there needs to be much more said about the place of the charity sector across this election campaign.

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