NCVO has warned that not all charities will be able to pay their staff a living wage until public sector commissioners take this into consideration when awarding contracts.
Launching its general election manifesto today, NCVO says that charities wanting to pay the living wage are unable to do so because “competitive tendering for public service contracts is driving wages down, particularly in fields such as social care”.
Citing the Living Wage Commission’s finding that the Treasury could save between £3.6bn and £6bn per year if everyone was paid the living wage, NCVO argued that: “Ensuring that commissioners understand the social and economic benefits of paying a living wage would make a real difference.”
It recommends that: “Spending settlements for local government and public bodies should reflect the costs of paying the living wage, recognising that this will reduce expenditure elsewhere on tax credits and benefits.”
The manifesto also warns that the short-term approach to spending is failing communities and that the next government should prioritise preventative spending to address social problems and save money in the longer term.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said: “As we move towards economic recovery our priority must be taking steps to prevent greater costs to the public purse arising in the future.”
David Robinson, chair of the Early Action Task Force, added: “Only by planning and budgeting for the long term will government be able to invest properly in the vital preventative work of charities and public services, save money and improve lives all at the same time.”
Other recommendations for the next government include:
- Creating a Centre for Social Value to support commissioners and charities implementing the Social Value Act
- Simplifying the under-used gift aid small donations scheme so that it is open to all charities registered to receive gift aid
- Establish a Paralympic legacy fund to help people with disabilities to volunteer
- Continue match-funding incentives for philanthropy through community foundations
Navca’s chief executive, Joe Irvin, welcomed the manifesto, and said: “I hope charities big and small unite behind these proposals and together show how voluntary organisations can help this country meet the challenges it faces.”
Lucy de Groot, chief executive of CSV, said: “We would urge the next government to put wellbeing top of their agenda and promote and recognise volunteering as a proven cost-effective way of addressing loneliness and improving physical and mental health.”
Yesterday nfpSynergy published nine key points for charities wishing to influence politicians ahead of the election.