HC Deb 20 February 1986 vol 92 cc465-6
4. Mr. Meadowcroft

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received from voluntary bodies funded by his Department concerning their future funding.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Waddington)

Representations have beeen received from the National Association of Victim Support schemes, the National Marriage Guidance Council, Community Transport, the United Kingdom Immigrants Advisory Service, the British Refugee Council, the Apex Trust, New Bridge and several local organisations concerned with the after-care of offenders.

Two experimental overnight shelters for alcoholics whose Home Office funding was always planned to end this year — St. Anne's shelter, Leeds and the Birmingham wet shelter — have also made representations.

Mr. Meadowcroft

Is the Minister aware that the development of genuine collaboration between voluntary bodies and statutory authorities depends on a consistency of funding? Will the Minister accept that the problem which local authorities have faced with rate-capping penalties plus the abolition of the metropolitan counties has harmed that collaboration? Will the Minister accept, given the long list of bodies he has mentioned, that there is a great need for his Department to look at the consistency of funding at least to get them over the hump of the abolition of the metropolitan counties?

Mr. Waddington

I cannot agree with what the hon. Gentleman said at the beginning of his question. On the matter of abolition, the Government, as the hon. Gentleman knows, have taken a number of measures to help London boroughs and metropolitan districts to continue funding worthwhile voluntary bodies. Grant-related expenditure assessments have taken account of the new responsibilities of boroughs and districts. There is new statutory machinery to facilitate collective grant-giving, and there is the additional financial support for inherited local projects.

Mr. Alan Howarth

Does my hon. and Learned Friend agree that if the Government were to enlarge the scope for donations to charities to be made deductible against income tax and corporation tax, one of the advantages would be that the organisations would be funded more in proportion to the direct public support that they can enlist than at present, and, to that extent, questions about their future funding would be taken out of the political sphere?

Mr. Waddington

I hear what my hon. Friend says, but it goes wide of the question and is not a matter for me.

Mr. Corbett

Does the Minister accept that, despite the recent welcome increase in funding for the victim support schemes, at local level many worthwhile schemes are grossly under-funded? Does he share the view, which is widely held in the House, that far too small a proportion of the total law and order budget is directed at victims?

Mr. Waddington

This year's grant for the National Association of Victim Support schemes is more than double the grant made last year, and next year it is intended for the first time to provide grants to some local schemes which have particular financial difficulties. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will acknowledge that that is real help from the Government.

Mrs. Currie

Is my hon. Friend aware that Turning Point, the drugs and alcohol rehabilitation charity which runs services in Derby, Birmingham and elsewhere, has been trying extremely hard to raise private funding for its work but has been finding it extremely difficult because businesses consider that they have already paid through taxation? Will he, therefore, take seriously the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Howarth), and urge his colleagues in the Cabinet and elsewhere to realise that if we can create an "American regime", in which taxation is set against charitable donations, we can help such bodies?

Mr. Waddington

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will no doubt note all that my hon. Friend has said.