As the Budget Bill is debated in the Scottish Parliament, the TSI Network in Scotland has called on MSPs to acknowledge the importance and contribution of the third sector and that without fair and secure funding, charities, community groups and volunteering organisations cannot continue doing more for less.
In our pre Budget briefing, the TSI network highlighted that the third sector is likely to be significantly affected by national decisions and as those decisions filter down into local funding. We have faced – and continue to face – unprecedented challenges as a nation. Charities, community group, social enterprises and volunteers have consistently stepped in, time and again, to bring people and communities together. They are providing often critical services – delivering food; helping people come home from hospital; supporting families in real need; helping to tackle social isolation and are at the frontline of the cost of living crisis. Yet, their contribution is still not fully valued or respected.
Warm words about the third sector will not help to embed fair work practices, or respond to recruitment challenges, continued short term funding and insecurity. We are already forgetting the lessons of the pandemic – the importance of local responses and strong communities. Whilst public services struggled to respond, the third sector and TSIs stepped up – often using their own reserves and funding to do so. These vital community groups are likely to be hit as local budgets are set.
We again urge the Scottish Government to look at how the Scottish Budget better supports the third sector, so it can continue to play a part in creating the kind of country we all want to see – fair, compassionate, welcoming, equal and focused on the wellbeing of every citizen.
We have also called for a third sector summit with the First Minister to look at how we work in partnership to respond to the significant economic and social challenges we all face. We make that call again with urgency, as the Budget Bill makes its way through Parliament.
The third sector has repeatedly stepped up … it needs security, value and respect if we are to continue responding to families and communities in need. Every one of us – Government, third sector, local authorities and other public bodies – must work collectively to help ensure recovery, hope and wellbeing are a reality for every community in Scotland, especially in these challenging times.
For more information:
Some local TSIs have been contacting local elected representatives about the Budget. Read one of the letters here.
You can read the Fair Work asks developed by the Network and SCVO here. The TSI Network has also produced a Local Fair Funding Charter to support discussions and partnerships with local public bodies and local authorities.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org