What do the party manifesto pledges mean for civil society?

As the main political parties publish their manifestos for the next term of office, we look at how the pledges stacked up against the issues that we highlighted in our joint manifesto, and the wider issues for charity finance directors. 



Local Government Funding


Will invest £2.5bn in Fishing and Coastal Communities

Local people will continue to have the final say on Council Tax

Aim to restore council spending powers to 2010 levels over the lifetime of the Parliament, which is estimated to cost in the region of £20bn in 2023-24.

Pledge to restore several areas of local government funding via other departments’ spending, including SureStart, youth services and public health.

Will invest in homelessness services and boost the Revenue Support Grant.

Introduce a capital £50 billion Regional Rebalancing Programme for infrastructure spend across the nations and regions of the UK

Use the £50 million Remain Bonus to invest in local services

End the erosion of local government funding and commit to a real increase in local government funding throughout the Parliament.


Resilient Communities Fund


Funding for Communities




Introduce a new ‘Towns Fund’, initially to 100 towns.

Establish a £150m Community Ownership Fund to encourage local takeovers of civic organisations or community assets.

Labour will build a funded, professionally staffed National Youth Service.

Work with major banks to fund the creation of a local banking sector dedicated to meeting the needs of local small and medium sized businesses.

Introduce a Wellbeing budget

Drive a ‘devolution revolution’ : give democratic local government enhances poers to call on new income sources appropriate to their area to support local services and investment.

Replacement EU funding, should Brexit take place


Immigration from the EU


Reduce annual immigration and introduce a points system that is blind to ethnic origin

UKSPF will replace EU Structural Funds and at a minimum match the size of those funds in each nation.

Introduce an Australian style points based immigration system. Ending EU freedom of movement.

Continued participation in EU agencies and funding programmes

If we remain in the EU, freedom of movement would continue. If we leave, it will be subject to negotiations, but seek to protect freedom of movement benefits

Stop Brexit and retain EU freedom of movement

Replace 2 Tier visas with more flexible merit based system

Dormant Assets and Charity Tax



Extend the use of dormant funds to support civil society.

Overhaul financial services regulation

Scrap the Apprentice Levy, but Improve tax incentives for employers to take on ‘genuine’ apprentices.

Will create an Anti Tax Evasion unit in HMRC

Establish a new National Skills Fund of £3m to provide matching funding for individuals or SMEs for high quality education and training.




Will amend VAT on private school fees.

Introduce new Skills Wallets worth £10,000 per individual

Review recent proposals to change the IR35 rules

Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a genuine Living Wage across all sectors.

Expand the Apprenticeship Levy into a wider ‘Training and skills Levy’.

Regulate financial services to encourage green investments, including requiring pension funds and managers to show that their portfolios are consistent with the Paris Agreement.



Social Value / Commissioning




Will use government procurement to support new ideas and new companies. Will continue to support charities which have helped to transform our public services.

Will give a new Co-operative Development Agency a mission to double the size of the co-operative sector

Provide a supportive framework to develop social enterprises

Encourage new forms of incorporation and a diversity of business types


Business Rates




Fundamental Review of the business rates system. Will further reduce business rates for retail businesses as well as extending the discount to music venues, small cinemas pubs and local and regional newspapers.



Review the option of a land value tax on commercial landlords as an alternative to Business Rates and develop a retail sector industrial strategy.

Replace business rates in England with a Commercial Landowner Levy

International Aid

They will redirect 50% of the foreign aid budget to invest in the UK.

Will maintain 0.7% of GNI spend on development.

Committed to a stand-alone department for International Development at least 0.7% of GNI.


Remain committed to spending 0.7% of GNI on aid

Civil Society





Repeal the Lobbying Act 2014 and overhauling the rules that govern corporate lobbying.

Support and maintain the social capital values of civil society organisations.



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