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Duncan Smith: Tackling poverty at home and abroad

Extract from Iain Duncan Smith's address to Renewing One Nation Charities Breakfast.

I don't come to you today with detailed answers to that central question. But I do want to talk about how we intend to go about finding those answers. This is a mission to which we will commit significant resources and which will have a central role in our policy renewal process.

I'm glad to see Stephen Bubb here from ACEVO. Stephen has arranged for some of his member organisations to contribute directly to this process and I look forward to opportunities to talk with Stuart Etherington, the NCVO and others about this process. At the end of this conference I will publish a major statement of Conservative policy direction. One of its key themes will be the importance of trusting and supporting people - not politicians - to provide sustainable help to vulnerable people.

I do not believe that the Government's reliance on direct state intervention and means-tested benefits is sustainable. It undermines the networks of family and community that are best placed to support people through their lives.

Conservatives will place our trust in communities, strengthening the people-sized institutions that can give personal help to people at times of their life when they are most vulnerable. The tenth chapter of the policy document focuses on the voluntary sector and makes clear just how important we believe your work to be.

Gary Streeter is going to unpack the contents of that chapter at the seminar after this breakfast.

Four tasks are at the heart of Conservative voluntary sector policy.

The first task will be to listen to charities and community groups about the barriers they face, and seek to identify solutions to them. We will build the solutions into a Voluntary Society Bill that we will lay before Parliament in the first Queen's Speech of the next Conservative Government.

The second task is to use our existing base in local government to forge ahead in delivering our vision. During the next three years we hope to take control of more local authorities, presenting a golden opportunity to identify and promote best practice with the voluntary sector.

The third task will be to identify ways in which the voluntary sector can be given access to a wider range of projects currently funded and executed by arms of government. The understanding gained will shape our plans for reform of the public services and lead to more diverse provision.

The fourth task will be a radical review of funding mechanisms. We want public money to flow to more diverse, innovative and locally-based projects. Charitable groups are filling the gaps left by government failures; they should not have to ask for grants from bureaucrats who were the architects of those failures.

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