Charity leaders urge Boris Johnson to apologise and end inequality

20 Dec 2019 News

Eleven charity sector representatives have written to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, asking him to apologise for language used in the past, strengthen social infrastructure, support communities and end inequality.
The coalition of civil society leaders have asked Johnson to create a Community Wealth Fund, increase local authority funding and launch a consultation on the design and delivery of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The letter has been co-ordinated by ACEVO, and says: “Above all else you have made clear commitments to repay the trust of communities that have, in your own words, ‘lent’ you their votes and to unite the country. These commitments cannot be achieved without the charities, voluntary organisation and social enterprises that operate in this country at a national, regional and local level.

“You have talked repeatedly of the importance of improving infrastructure, and we ask that you and your team include strengthening social infrastructure in this commitment. The social sector is the people-powered infrastructure that improves the lives of people in villages, towns and cities every day.”

The leaders add: “We want to work with your government to address the impact of austerity and cuts to welfare, social care and local authority budgets which have caused harm to communities and left many charities stretched to the limits of their capacity.
“The social sector has been the safety net for those struggling to make ends meet, facing prejudice, battling ill health or fleeing persecution, but it is not in a position, nor should it be, to absorb continually growing demand.  Local authority funding needs to be urgently increased to alleviate the risk of further harm being caused.”

‘Apologise for any prejudicial words spoken or written that you have used’

The group also asks the prime minister “to lead from the front” and “apologise for any prejudicial words spoken or written that you have used in the past and commit to inclusive and collaborative language and policy from now on”.
Kristiana Wrixon, ACEVO head of policy, said: “ACEVO wants to work with Johnson’s new government to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our society. However, in order to make meaningful progress, the relationship between civil society and government has to be based on honesty and respect, and it must evolve past the superficial transactional approach we have seen in recent years.”

Signatories to the letter are:

  • Vicky Browning, chief executive, ACEVO
  • Tony Armstrong, chief executive, Locality
  • Rita Chadha, chief executive, Small Charities Coalition
  • Jane Ide, chief executive, NAVCA
  • Fadi Itani, chief executive, Muslim Charities Forum
  • Kunle Olulode, chief executive, Voice4Change England
  • Paul Reddish, chief executive, Volunteering matters
  • Paul Roberts, chief executive, LGBT Consortium
  • Adeela Warley, chief executive, CharityComms
  • Dr Wanda Wyporska, executive director, The Equality Trust
  • Kathy Evans, chief executive, Children England
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