UK charities minister confirmed - at the second attempt

Number 10 cropped

​Oh yes it is, oh no it isn't - new civil society minister mix-up

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15th June 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Confusion reigned this week over who was the UK’s new charities minister.

Tracey Crouch was installed in the job today (Thursday, 15 June) – a day after another MP had been given the position.

On Wednesday, it was announced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport  (DCMS) that John Glen had been given the position.

However, he revealed on Twitter that this had been a mistake – he is actually minister for the arts, heritage and tourism.

Tracey Crouch

Tracey Crouch

Charities find themselves too small to help fix social problems, agencies find it too difficult and authorities find it too expensive

DCMS brought the confusion to an end by announcing that Crouch, Tory MP for Chatham and Aylesford and a former sports minister, has the civil society brief.

The new incumbent takes over from Rob Wilson who lost his Reading East seat to Labour’s Matt Rodda.

Crouch’s website says she holds several third sector posts, including president of RSPCA Medway West, patron of the Medway branch of the National Osteoporosis Society, vice president of the Kent branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and an honorary member of the Friends of Mental Health, West Kent and Medway.

She also volunteers as a manager and FA-qualified coach at Meridian Girls’ Football Club in Kent.

Crouch, 41, referenced charities in her maiden speech to the House of Commons in 2010.

On dealing with social problems, she said: "Charities find themselves too small to help, agencies find it too difficult and authorities find it too expensive. Complex problems may require multiple solutions, but unless we invest our time, energy and support, deprivation in parts of one of the most advanced countries in the world will continue to blight our nation."

Crouch will retain the sports brief in a merged ministry. On Twitter she decribed herself as "sports and civil society minister".

Her appointment was welcomed by John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation.

However, he questioned the wisdom of merging the civil society and sports portfolios.

He said: “We are delighted that Tracey Crouch has taken on responsibility for civil society matters. As well as the strong ties that Ms Crouch will have forged with charities during her time as minister for sport, she has a strong relationship with a number of local charities that means she is well placed to understand the unique contribution that charities make to society, as well as the challenges that we face.

“Our sector has enjoyed a constructive relationship with the charities minister in the past, and I look forward to building on that with the new minister in the coming months.

“Top of our list of shared priorities will be tackling divisions across society, ensuring that the Brexit deal delivers for charities, and that our sector is able to continue providing vital support to millions of people in so many ways.

“However, the decision to merge the Minister for Civil Society role with another portfolio is concerning, coming as it does on the back on the announcement that No. 10’s special adviser on charities will be leaving her post.

“The political uncertainty, division and social challenges we face mean that the country needs an increased role for charities, not a reduced one.

“It will be vital that this does not result in the voice of charities and the needs of their beneficiaries being neglected.”