Sir Keir Starmer celebrates Mid Bedfordshire by-election win with supporters.

What does Labour’s election victory mean for charities and funders?

Now that Labour have won an historic victory, attention will be quickly turning to how they will deliver their manifesto promises.

This is where the hard work will really start. Where they will need to garner the support of those with the right knowledge, trusted relationships, and experience. Charities and funders have all these three attributes in a range of the areas that Labour will need to deliver on.

In this blog, I’ll look at 5 of those areas: young people and mental health, criminal justice, regional and social inequalities, health, and the environment.

These are the areas where there’s some of the most obvious potential for effective partnerships for change. And where charities and funders have the strongest opportunities to influence and shape the government’s thinking.

But to have that influence, charities need to be ready and know what to expect from the new team.

Young people and mental health

Labour have committed to a new ‘Youth Futures’ programme. At the centre of the programme is a network of ‘Youth Futures Hubs’, which will have “youth workers, mental health support workers, and careers advisers on hand to support young people’s mental health and avoid them being drawn into crime.”

Our State of the Sector research showed that the public think that charities may have an advantage over businesses or the state in delivering mental health support and support for children and young people. This means charities from a range of sectors including youth, mental health, criminal justice, racial equality could be vital partners in this programme.

NPC has just released a report on the role of charities in children and young people’s mental health and we’ll be working with organisations across the sector to promote that vital role.

Youth and anti-poverty charities will also be pleased to see the manifesto says that the new government will work with charities and others to develop an “ambitious strategy to reduce child poverty”.

Criminal justice

At NPC, we were really pleased to see some recommendations that we developed alongside other charities make it into Labour’s manifesto.

These were for youth workers and mentors to be placed in A&E units and Pupil Referral Units to divert young people from crime, and government backing for prisons to link up with charities to reduce reoffending and support ex-offenders into work. We look forward to charities being involved in the roll-out of these policies.

We also think there is a real opportunity for charities to be involved in Labour’s plans to increase purposeful activities in prisons and create ‘pre-release plans’ for those leaving custody. Our  previous research ‘Beyond Bars’ highlighted these as missed opportunities.

Regional and social inequalities

Charities working in communities across the country, but particularly those in more deprived urban parts of the country, will probably be pleased to see that Labour wants a statutory requirement for towns and cities to produce Local Growth Plans.

The manifesto didn’t list charities as a key partner in delivering Local Growth Plans. But our Building Blocks of Growth research showed that charities can help improve people’s health and education – vital steps for getting people into work and therefore, local economic growth.

Less was said in the manifesto about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This is a significant pot of funding. We’ve argued that much more of it should be redirected to addressing people’s social needs, like health and skills, rather than the current focus on building new infrastructure. But this lack of information could mean there is space for charities to provide evidence and intelligence to shape how the fund is spent from next year.

Racial justice, disability, and class-focused charities will also be interested in Labour’s commitments to enact the socio-economic duty in the Equality Act 2010, to introduce a landmark Race Equality Act, and to introduce disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers.


Many health charities will be pleased to see Labour’s ambition to “raise the healthiest generation of children in our history”.

In their manifesto they emphasised prevention of ill health, and have committed to tackle the social determinants of health. This included a pledge to halve the gap in healthy life expectancy between the richest and poorest regions in England.

Mental health charities will also be a critical partner in Labour’s ambition to ensure that mental health has the same attention and focus as physical health.


After reducing their commitments on green spending earlier this year, Labour included a raft of environmental commitments in their manifesto. Environmental charities will of course be working hard to influence how these are implemented, but many are also relevant to social charities too.

And we’re pleased that the manifesto mirrored some of the recommendations that NPC and over 30 more charities suggested in our Making environmental policy work for everyone paper.

For example, the commitment that no community is left behind when the government introduces climate change policies mirrors our call for more fairness in environmental policies. This is an area that all charities working with disadvantaged and marginalised groups can help Labour deliver on.

The manifesto also had a strong focus on green jobs and skills. We believe that youth and employment charities, (and charities who work with ethnic minority and disabled communities) can provide useful intelligence to help form the Green Prosperity Plan. They should have a seat on the Industrial Strategy Council too.


In policy-speak we call all of the above ‘hooks’ – commitments on which we can ‘hang’ our policy ideas. But there are of course other areas, some of which aren’t mentioned in the manifestos, where we think government can enable charities to better deliver social change.

Our Partners for Change paper released in June set out many of these, including the need for better structures in government to enable it to effectively partner with charities.

The job now for charities and funders is to not only make the most of opportunities created by the commitments that Labour has made, but – through our influencing – to create even more opportunities that benefit the people we serve.

At NPC, we’re excited to be working with the new government to do that.