Policy, Government and the Voluntary Sector, General Election 2024 Resources Hub

General Election 2024: Manifesto Mashup!

Jay Kennedy, Director of Policy and Research at DSC, takes a closer look at the party manifestos in relation to the voluntary sector.

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It’s become a little tradition at DSC that for every General Election we do a little exercise we like to call Manifesto Mashup. Basically this is where we take 100s of pages of party-political waffle, and try to sift out any mentions that are relevant to charities or wider civil society, as well as categorising proposals in key policy areas that are relevant to many organisations in our sector.

We’re mid-way through the 2024 General Election campaign and most of the manifestos have now been published. We’ve done our sifting and mashing and the results are out, broken down into nine different categories. You can get your edition hot off the digital press here!

Without wishing to lower your expectations, it’s worth mentioning at the outset that there’s depressingly little specifically about charities, civil society, social enterprise, or volunteering in any of the manifestos. In places there are mentions in certain contexts like social care, offender re-habilitation, or young people’s mental health. There are also occasional vague acknowledgements that government will work in partnership with civil society, but details are scarce.

Given the scale of the challenges our society faces and the huge importance of the many causes and issues listed above, whichever party eventually forms the next government needs to urgently address this gap and seriously engage with charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises to achieve positive change.

However, looking through all the details across many of the parties, it’s also evident that there are some clear areas of contention but also of potential alignment which could give insights into what policies might be on the agenda for the next parliament, which will matter to many charities and their beneficiaries.

For example:

Areas where many parties have conflicting proposals:

  • Equalities and Human Rights: conflicting proposals on transgender rights; changes to or protection of the Equality Act 2010 and membership of the European Court of Human Rights; further restricting rights to protest or rolling back recent restrictions.
  • Immigration and refugees: continuing or scrapping the Rwanda scheme; clamping down on immigration or keeping more protections for immigrants in place.
  • Climate change: enhancing or rowing back on Net Zero commitments; increasing or restricting the use of renewables.
  • Policing and criminal justice: very different approaches to knife crime and the rehabilitation of offenders.
  • Welfare and benefits: varying reforms of Universal Credit; maintaining or scrapping the two-child limit on claiming it.

Areas where there could be alignment across parties:

  • Environment: punishing water companies for sewage leaks; planting more trees.
  • Young people: supporting mental health; reforming or boosting apprenticeships; enhancing support for Special Educational Needs (SEND).
  • Criminal justice: initiatives to reduce Violence against Women and Girls.
  • Housing and homelessness: building more houses, and reducing homelessness.

There’s more detail in the full document, so you can make your own judgments and find any areas of conflict or consensus in the policy areas that matter most to you.

We hope you enjoy, use and share our Manifesto Mashup!

If you have any issues when clicking the link, please try right-clicking and opening in a new tab to view and download.