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Tessa Jowell, Labour's Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, responding to the Government's announcement on Social Impact Bonds, said:

“We welcome the Government's interest in this area which builds upon the work we did in Government developing the scheme at Peterborough Prison to tackle reoffending. But beneath the headline lies a whole host of unanswered questions.

“The Government cannot on the one hand cut funding for charities and voluntary sector organisations, forcing them to slash services and reduce staff, and on the other expect them to step up to the mark and deliver these outcomes.

“Nick Hurd cannot seriously say he wants to give the front line power and resources when charities up and down the country cannot pay the bills because of cuts coming too far and too fast. Tackling difficult problems like anti-social behaviour and addiction needs a more coherent approach from Government.

“The devil is in the detail - what criteria will be applied to financial backers? How will the Government ensure they are serious about tackling these problems long term? What indicators will be used to judge the success of these projects and how will Government ensure the payment by results model doesn't just allow providers to cherry pick members of the target group who are the easiest to help?

“We have seen too much hot air about the 'big society' to take such initiatives purely at face value.”

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