Contract pressure on charities

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From Ms Jill Pitkeathley

Sir: Polly Toynbee's piece about the dilemmas facing charities which take on contracts to provide local authority or health authority services was well argued (17 May). She misses one point though. There are some charities, Carers National Association, for example, which have taken a clear decision not to go down that route. We see our main purpose as campaigning to help the UK's 7 million carers speak with a stronger voice.

We believe we can only do that at both local and national level if we are free of the pressure which contracts can put on charities. We need to be free to speak up and speak out as appropriate. We receive a grant from the Department of Health, but even the Government accepts that our role is to be the "voice of the carers".

Our dilemma is of a different kind - how to raise money if you don't take on contracts.

Yours sincerely,

JILL PITKEATHLEY

Director, Listen to Carers

London, EC1

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