It needs to focus on the big issues that matter to people

  • More than half of charities think the debate is uninspiring and predictable. It’s missing the big issues that matter to them and people in Scotland – poverty, welfare, jobs, health and social care
  • 40% of charities and third sector organisations remain completely disengaged from the debate
  • 70% are not planning to take a position on the referendum in the coming year owing to concerns about alienating funders and service users/members, and meeting staff costs

A survey of 200 charities and third sector organisations published today by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) indicates that charities across Scotland are finding the debate about Scotland’s future boring and predictable.

John Downie, Director of Public Affairs, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

“These results show that too much party politics, mudslinging and a failure to talk sensibly about big issues have turned charities off the debate about Scotland’s future.

“Neither side has painted a vision of the Scotland that they would like to see. More importantly, no side in the debate has spelled out how they will deal with the major challenges facing Scotland and the people the third sector works with and supports every day.

“We don’t need more rhetoric about how things will be better. We need hard facts on how they’ll eradicate the blight of poverty and inequality, and introduce a welfare system that supports people when they need it most.

“The third sector and members of the public are getting the impression that the political parties, MSPs and the Yes and No campaigns are living in a political bubble where their set agendas come first, not the people of Scotland.

“The survey also shows that it’s time for the third sector to get more involved and speak up about a whole range of issues that matter to people – from poverty and inequality to social care and giving more power to communities. If we don’t, no one else will.

“Charities in Scotland have connections to all parts of Scottish life. We are in a unique position to help turn this debate around and ensure that it reflects the kind of Scotland people want to see.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the national body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.5 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations.
  2. Read the full survey results. Among the top issues charities want to see debated are: poverty, welfare, social care, giving power to communities, equality and the economy.
  3. Martin Sime, Chief Executive, and John Downie, Director of Public Affairs, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations are available for interview and comment
  4. For more information contact the SCVO Press Office on 07790 601 995