Building a stronger culture of giving

GOVERNMENT Green Papers are published to spark debate on policy options surrounding a particular issue and to encourage members of the public and people with a special interest, to formally contribute their views to a public consultation.

Published between Christmas and New Year, the Giving Green Paper did just that and I thought, as the minister responsible for it, I’d give readers some more detail about its background and the intentions behind it.

It’s quite simple really: we aim to build a stronger culture of giving within this country - both time and money.

We’re also aiming for the Government to become a facilitator in achieving this goal, which might mean big things such as easing the way for volunteers, charities and philanthropists to form partnerships or relatively small things such as giving publicity to charities on government websites and opening up under-used buildings for charitable activity.

Other proposals include:

Harnessing new technology, such as working with mobile phone companies to set up charitable phone applications and working with banks to allow giving via ATMs and also via card purchases.

A £50m Community First Fund to invest in local savings schemes that pay out small grants well into the future in the most deprived areas. It will match contributions from local donors to encourage more giving.

A £10m Volunteers Match Fund to double the benefit of private donations to voluntary projects.

Encouraging a new focus on reciprocal giving with ideas such as an ebay-style online community where people can trade time

A Government review of the relationship between financial incentives and giving.

It’s all part of creating a stronger society – a Big Society. We are aiming for a country in which people are in control and where they donate their time, money, assets, skills and knowledge to make life better for everyone.

The Green Paper consultation closes on March 9 and we’re encouraging anyone who has an opinion on this most important of issues to get in touch.

Responses can be made by emailing giving@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk.

I really hope that readers will make their views heard because so much voluntary and charitable activity takes place locally.

I’d love the expertise and passion and views that I experience so often to be fed directly into the consultation.

The next steps are that the findings of the consultation will form a White Paper which will be made publicly available.

FRANCIS MAUDE

MP for Horsham