Financial package for the sector during Covid-19
Last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £750m in new funding for charities.
After a month of urging the Treasury to create a financial package for the sector, charities welcomed the announcement but said it will not be enough and called on the Treasury to keep the funding under review.
The £750m will be new money, separate from the £300m which the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) announced on 27th March. But it is important to note that the money is very much targeted at charities responding to the current crisis. That is of course right and proper, but it won’t help those whose viability is affected by the crisis. A stark contrast to what has been done for profit making organisations in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.
£370m is due to go to small and medium-sized charities, channelled through the NLCF and other funds. It will support locally-focused charities doing most during the outbreak – such as delivering food and medicines and providing financial advice.
Another £360m will be allocated by government departments to charities providing essential services and supporting people during the crisis. Out of this:
- up to £200m will support hospices
- funding is specifically allocated to St John Ambulance to support the NHS and Citizens Advice to allow more staff to provide advice.
The announcement also singled out vulnerable children’s charities delivering local services and victims’ charities, including domestic abuse, to help address rising demand. It’s not clear how much flexibility there will be for other types of need – disability charities are an obvious example – and more clarity is needed on that.
The government will also match public donations to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal, with a minimum donation of £20m to the National Emergencies Trust.
Karl Wilding, chief executive of NCVO, said:
“Today’s announcement is an important first step, though it will not be enough to prevent good charities around the country from closing their doors. Even many that survive will look very different in a few months’ time, with a severely reduced capacity to provide the support that people rely on.”