Third Sector

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 6th February 2008.

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Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon PPS (Jim Knight, Minister of State), Department for Children, Schools and Families 11:30 am, 6th February 2008

What assessment he has made of the role that third sector organisations play in campaigning for social change; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Minister (Cabinet Office) and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Third sector organisations play an essential role in campaigning for change in laws and attitudes. Whether it is large charities that have campaigned around issues from disability to child protection or small charities that wish to speak out on local issues, their work plays an important role in speaking up for those who would otherwise not have their voice properly heard.

Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon PPS (Jim Knight, Minister of State), Department for Children, Schools and Families

Given that suicide among young people aged 14 to 25 accounts for 20 per cent. of all deaths in that age range—it is second only to accidental death—and that 19,000 young people attempt suicide each year, does my right hon. Friend agree that it is most important that organisations such as the Samaritans continue their campaigning work to bring that issue to public attention and provide the strategies to help and support young people to avoid suicide, and to inform the Government about how serious this issue is for young people?

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Minister (Cabinet Office) and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

I join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to the Samaritans for their work in my own local area and across the country, including in my hon. Friend's constituency. She is absolutely right that the particular insights that the Samaritans gain into the problems of the people who come to them put them in a unique position to campaign on the issues that really matter for such people. We should welcome their work and enable it to continue.

Photo of Patrick Cormack Patrick Cormack Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

As the Secretary of State has rightly paid tribute to the Samaritans and other voluntary organisations, can he please drop this ghastly jargon of "third sector"?

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Minister (Cabinet Office) and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

I know that some hon. Members and people outside the House feel strongly about this matter. I assure the hon. Gentleman that I did not invent the term, which is used by the sector itself. Debate about it will no doubt continue.