Coalition MPs deem charities to be "more important" post-Election, helping achieve public spending cuts

Coalition MPs deem charities to be "more important" post-Election, helping achieve public spending cuts

28 Sep 2010
  • Lib Dems noticeably less effusive than Tories; Labour MPs most sceptical of all.
  • "Coalition enthusiasm, albeit relatively half-hearted in the Lib Dem camp, is grounds for joy or gloom if you are a charity
  • Depending on whether or not you think this heralds extra support to help you fill any gap resulting from public sector cost-cutting" vies nfpSynergy

Coalition MPs overwhelmingly believe that “charities and social enterprises are going to be more important to the new government than to the last one”, according to new data out today. However, Lib Dem MPs are noticeably less emphatic about this than their Conservative “partners”; and Labour MPs remain staunchly sceptical.

Interestingly, whilst (slide 2) 9 out of 10 Tory (89%) and Lib Dem (88%) MPs agree with the above quoted statement, a hefty 72% of Tories, compared with just 30% of Lib Dems, strongly agree with it. Meantime, only 2 in 5 (42%) Labour MPs can bring themselves to agree - just 14% of them strongly. Indeed, well over a third (36%) of Labour MPs downright disagree with the statement, 6% of them strongly.

Leading not-for-profit sector research consultancy nfpSynergy’s Charity Parliamentary Monitor surveyed a representative sample of 150 MPs (May/June 2010), asking them to compare the importance of charities and social enterprises either side of the last General Election in May – since when the new Liberal-Conservative coalition has championed a ‘Big Society’ agenda widely viewed as requiring charities to somehow fill the gap in service provision to be left by imminent cuts in the former Labour government’s public sector spending.

Moreover(slide 3), a sizeable 4 in 5 (82%) of Tory MPs and scarce half (55%) of Lib Dem MPs agree that “the provision of frontline services by charities will help cut costs” – half (49%) of Tories and a mere 7% of Lib Dems strongly agreeing. Meantime, only a quarter (26%) of Labour MPs agree, just 8% of them strongly. Indeed, half (49%) of Labour MPs actively disagree with the statement, 5% of them strongly.

nfpSynergy researcher, Sarah Lincoln, said:

“The fact that coalition MPs think, albeit relatively half-heartedly in the Lib Dem camp, that charities and social enterprises are more important in times of public sector cost-cutting could be grounds either for joy or for gloom if you are a voluntary sector organisation - depending on whether or not you think this heralds extra government contracts, grants or support to enable you to help fill any expected resultant gaps in service provision.”

“The fact that Labour MPs seem especially sceptical may suggest that – quite apart from general annoyance at their former big-spend programme now being dismantled - they rather doubt there will be much new cash forthcoming, thus potentially leaving both charities and public without.”



MEDIA COMMENT: To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him direct on 07976 329 212 or; or, alternatively, contact Adrian Gillan (0774 086 7215; E: for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy ( is the UK’s only research consultancy dedicated to the charity sector and not-for-profit issues. It provides ideas, insights and information to help voluntary and community organisations thrive in an ever-changing world. Regularly harvesting the social and charity-related views of public and parliament, media and business - not to mention not for profit organisations themselves - nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool from which to extract and deliver insights.