Headlines: February 23rd, 2004

Chancellor Gordon Brown has promised that more grants and loans will be available to voluntary sector organizations in the summer to improve their capacity to deliver public services. The funding will support the development of financial management and other skills and be made available through the Futurebuilders Fund. The Home Office is also finalising work on a new capacity and infrastructure framework including funding to help improve performance management and governance in the sector.Other measures to support and develop the voluntary sector and encourage people to undertake some sort of voluntary activity will be announced in the Budget. In addition Home Secretary David Blunkett will call a summit of organisations and businesses involved in mentoring in such areas as drug and alcohol abuse, to discuss how more can be done.

Gordon Brown stressed that the voluntary sector must never be seen as a cut-price alternative to statutory provision, nor should it be seen as a second class alternative to state provision.