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Cameron pledges paid volunteering leave

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British Prime Minister David Cameron at Asian Lite office in Manchester. Photo Arun Jacob Thomas
British Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo Arun Jacob Thomas
British Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo Arun Jacob Thomas

Up to 15 million workers will be offered three days’ paid leave a year for volunteering under a Conservative government, David Cameron has said.

The move, which will affect the public sector and large firms, comes alongside a Tory pledge to extend the real-terms freeze of some rail fares until 2020 reported BBC.

Labour said the volunteering pledge was a “re-announcement” from 2008.

It said fares had risen by 20% since 2010 and the freeze was “unbelievable”.

Under the Conservatives’ volunteering plans, a new law would be passed requiring public sector employers and companies with more than 250 employees to give staff up to three days a year to do voluntary work.

Employers would cover the cost.

The BBC’s Mark Easton said the prime minister’s announcement was a reminder of the Big Society theme from the 2010 election “which many had thought had been binned”.

Our home affairs editor said a number of employers, including the CBI, had welcomed the move but some firms “may baulk at the idea of having to organise and pay for the policy, while schools, hospitals, emergency services and other public bodies may struggle to buy in cover for front-line workers from shrinking budgets”.

Mr Cameron said the proposal was “the clearest demonstration of the Big Society in action” and represented a “double win”.

He added: “It’s good for our economy, as it will help create a better, more motivated workforce. And it’s good for our society too, as it will strengthen communities and the bonds between us.”