2 Apr 2009 : Column 9MC

2 Apr 2009 : Column 9MC

Ministerial Corrections

Thursday 2 April 2009

Communities and Local Government

Local Government: Reorganisation

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many charters conferring the status of a borough have been granted by Her Majesty the Queen through the Privy Council Office since May 1997; and in which local authority areas such charters have been granted. [251775]

[Official Report, 2 February 2009, Vol. 487, c. 965W.]

Letter of correction from John Healey:

An error has been identified in the written answer given to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles), on 2 February 2009. The district of Welwyn Hatfield was omitted from the list of charters that have been granted since May 1997. The correct answer should have been:

John Healey: Nine Charters have been granted since May 1997 conferring borough status to the districts of Brighton and Hove, Medway, North Lincolnshire, Telford and Wrekin, Welwyn Hatfield, Wokingham, Cheshire West and Chester, West Lancashire and Cheshire East.

Duchy of Lancaster

Third Sector Organisations

Ben Chapman: Does the Minister accept that the double whammy of the economic recession will mean not just reduced charitable donations, but the possibility of reduced lottery moneys for charities as a result of reduced ticket sales? Does he accept that children’s hospices in particular and smaller charities in general will be particularly affected? Will he ensure that appropriate practical advice is given to both children’s hospices and smaller charities so that they can weather the period of the recession?

Mr. Byrne: I congratulate my hon. Friend on the work that he does representing and speaking up for hospices in his constituency. The third sector and charities such as those that he alludes to go into the downturn in stronger health than ever before, because we have doubled public income to the third sector from £5.5 billion to £11 billion. We are determined to do more. That is why we are spending £500 million over the comprehensive spending review period, and why we are determined to
2 Apr 2009 : Column 10MC
bring forward reviews and reform of Gift Aid. The tax system is now worth £4 billion to charities. Where there are opportunities for us to bring public services, charities and voluntary groups closer together, and to use that strategy to strengthen charities, we will do that. That is why the Department of Health has asked Futurebuilders to manage £100 million-worth of investment in social enterprises over the next couple of years.

[Official Report, 1 April 2009, Vol. 490, c. 905.]

Letter of correction from Mr. Byrne:

An error has been identified in the oral response given to the hon. Member for Wirral, South (Ben Chapman), on 1 April 2009. The original answer referred to the fact that the tax system is worth £4 billion to charities. The correct figure for the amount the tax system is worth to charities is £3 billion.

Third Sector Organisations

Mr. Gary Streeter (South-West Devon) (Con): I commend the right hon. Gentleman for setting up the modernisation fund, which we have already heard about. In his discussions with the third sector—a perfectly sensible name, by the way—will he make it clear that in these straitened financial times he will give greater weight to organisations that show that they will collaborate and co-operate with other similar third sector organisations in their locality, so that some of the duplication and waste that we see in the third sector can be cut out?

Mr. Byrne: .... The hon. Member for South-West Devon (Mr. Streeter) is right. Very often it is smaller organisations that make the biggest difference to their communities. That is why we wanted to step up the amount of funding that goes through grassroots grants. In the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, I understand that there are about nine organisations which receive about £27,000-worth of grassroots grants. Often those small amounts of money will make the world of difference, as he knows. When the Charity Commission recently asked the question of the sector—however we choose to define the sector—84 per cent. of respondents said that they were more interested in collaboration in the months to come. That is why the modernisation fund, which I am glad to be able to tell the House opens for business today, will provide £16.5 million not just to organisations seeking to merge and grow stronger, but to those that seek advice on how to collaborate more effectively in order to do the job that they are so passionate about.

[Official Report, 1 April 2009, Vol. 490, c. 906.]

Letter of correction from Mr. Byrne:

An error has been identified in the oral response given to the hon. Member for South-West Devon (Mr. Streeter), on 1April 2009. The modernisation fund opens for business at the end of April and not, as the original answer cited, on 1 April.

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