What will this Election mean for our sector?

General Election 2024

As we gear up for a general election, we will undoubtedly hear policy debates and promises from politicians on a range of things.  Devolution in Scotland changes our relationship with Westminster, but the Scottish voluntary sector — comprising community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, and social enterprises — still has a major stake in the outcome of this election.

The sector plays a crucial role in supporting disadvantaged communities, advocating for social justice, and driving sustainable development. As political parties outline their platforms, GCVS is setting out what we think is important to the city’s voluntary sector.

About the voluntary sector in Glasgow

Glasgow’s voluntary sector is vast and diverse, encompassing thousands of organisations providing essential services, support, and advocacy for a wide range of causes. These organisations are the backbone of many community initiatives, from homelessness and poverty alleviation to mental health support and environmental protection. They not only fill gaps in public services but also innovate and drive change from the grassroots level. The sector is uniquely well-placed to work alongside communities, building capacity, hope and ambition. 

Our Asks

Social Justice and Equality

Social justice is at the heart of the voluntary sector’s mission. We urge the next UK Government to prioritise policies that tackle inequality and promote social inclusion. This includes addressing poverty, improving access to affordable housing, and ensuring that marginalised communities receive the support they need. Too often, voluntary organisations are the last line of defence when the social security safety net fails citizens. More investment in public services is needed so charities aren’t left to pick up the pieces. Voluntary groups are also advocating for more robust measures to combat discrimination and promote diversity, including a clear commitment to maintaining and extending Human Rights in legislation.

Sustainable Funding

One of the most urgent concerns for voluntary organisations is the need for sustainable funding. Our members are the cornerstone of strong, resilient communities, but too often, they rely on short-term grants and donations, which can be unpredictable and insufficient for long-term planning. The sector is often described as a key partner, but the approach to funding often leaves the relationship feeling unbalanced.  The sector has long called for a more stable funding environment, with longer-term grants and greater support for financial sustainability. While this issue is primarily for Scottish and Local Governments, the UK Government has a responsibility for some direct funding (such as Levelling Up) and the overall fiscal framework in which devolved administrations operate. 

Environmental Sustainability

With the growing impact of climate change, environmental sustainability is a critical priority. Many voluntary organisations are involved in environmental advocacy, conservation efforts, and education, including the local partners in Glasgow’s Climate Action Hub, of which GCVS is one. Now is the time for ambitious climate policies from the government, including commitments to reduce carbon emissions and protect natural habitats. The sector is already leading the way in this with community-led environmental initiatives that engage citizens, reduce emissions, build resilience, and develop adaptations.

In Summary

It is crucial for political parties to recognise the voluntary sector’s vital role and to develop policies and approaches that value and strengthen the sector. By addressing the sector’s priorities, the incoming UK Government can support the development of resilient, inclusive, and sustainable communities.

These priorities for the upcoming general election reflect a deep commitment to social justice, environmental sustainability, and community empowerment. By championing these issues, we hope to improve the lives of people in Glasgow, Scotland, and across the UK.

This is no time for half-measures. The next UK Government will not have it easy, but it is incumbent upon politicians to foster an economic, social and environmental recovery that instils hope for our future.

You can also find campaigning guidance for charities as well as resources to support people to vote in our blog here.

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