Stephen Cotterill: Time for elected administration to live up to their promises

04 Jul 2024 In-depth

Time for the elected administration to put some flesh on the bare bones of those manifesto commitments.


On the day this issue lands, the country will be choosing a new government. If the polls are to be believed, Keir Starmer will be moving his dad’s old toolmaking kit into number 10 in the next few days and forming a government. As I write, no vote has yet been cast but it has seemed likely there will be a change at the top ever since Rishi Sunak surprised the country and most of his party members by calling an early election. So, what is the new prime minister promising to do for civil society?

In its manifesto, Labour said it would partner with civil society on protecting the environment, creating stronger animal welfare and would seek advice from the sector on its plans for growth. So that’s a few areas of charitable objectives covered. But there has been little talk about health services, medical research, international aid, poverty and homelessness. When the country is in the current state that it is, you can’t cherry-pick which causes you want to help off their knees. All a bit vague; all a bit unconvincing.

As the Charity Finance Group said, although it might welcome the Labour Party’s partnership pledges, “we need more detail on how it plans to develop the relationship between the sector and the state”.

The manifesto also says that the party would plan to return aid spending to 0.7% of gross national income. Gideon Rabinowitz, director of policy and advocacy at NGO umbrella body Bond, similarly said that he welcomed the commitment to restoring the UK aid budget, “but concrete details and realistic timelines are essential to make this commitment meaningful”.

“Any incoming government should commit to urgently increasing the UK aid budget and target places where it is most needed, focusing on poverty alleviation in lower-income countries.”

Like much of what the Labour leader has said over recent weeks, the pledges lack detail. He’s been treading on eggshells (or holding the tiller steady, depending on your political analysis) since the election was announced so as not to upset the polling trajectory. But now, assuming that he is the one taking control of the country and its spending, it is time for Starmer and his new ministers to put flesh on the bones of those commitments.

@stevejcotterill is the editor of Fundraising Magazine

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