Charities across the country get a £750m support package to continue their work amid COVID-19 pandemic

0
488

CHARITIES across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced.

Tens of thousands of charities will benefit from direct cash grants to ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus as well as continuing their day-to-day activities supporting those in need.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak commented on the announcement: “Our charities are playing a crucial role in the national fight against coronavirus, supporting those who are most in need.

“It’s right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750 million package of extra funding.

“This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people up and down the country rely on.”

As part of a UK-wide package of support, £360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.

In addition to this, £370 million for small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England, will support those organisations at the heart of local communities which are making a big difference during the outbreak, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.

The Chancellor also announced the Government will match fund whatever the public decides to donate to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

The announcement builds on previous announcements by the Chancellor to support charities and businesses, including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible with the Government paying 80% of their wages.

Charities providing vital services and helping vulnerable people through the current crisis will benefit from the £360 million allocated by government departments.

These will include:

  • hospices to help increase capacity and give stability to the sector
  • St Johns Ambulance to support the NHS
  • victims charities, including domestic abuse, to help with potential increase in demand for charities providing these services
  • vulnerable children charities, so they can continue delivering services on behalf of local authorities
  • Citizens Advice to increase the number of staff providing advice

Departments will now work at pace to identify priority recipients, with the aim for charities to receive money in the coming weeks.

John Herriman, Chief Executive of the National Emergencies Trust, commented: “This is very welcome money that builds on the success of the NET Coronavirus appeal to date and which will give thousands and thousands of people real and much needed help.

“By working collaboratively with many local grassroots charities and local community foundations we have been able to deliver support quickly, fairly and efficiently to those who need it most.

“We have seen many, many stories of people who have already received wonderful support, from food deliveries to helping those in isolation.

“This additional funding means we can do so much more, and we will work in partnership with the sector to ensure support continues to get to where it’s needed most.”

The application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within a similar period of time.

Where charitable services are devolved the UK Government has applied the Barnett formula in the normal way.

The government expects the devolved administrations to receive £60 million through the charities pot, and further significant Barnett allocations, dependent on the final proposals funded, through the direct grant pot.

They encourage the devolved administrations to use this funding to support charities.

Sir John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, which provides services and assistance to UK and international charities, added: “The Charities Aid Foundation knows only too well that charities on the front line are facing incredible demands for their services just as income is squeezed.

“This set of measures from the Treasury will offer important and welcome support for civil society at this very difficult time for us all.

“Recognising the humbling generosity of the British public right now is so vital as we rally together in the face of such a national challenge.

“Charities at the front line and all those working to support our society need help to perform their vital function bringing people together at this time of enormous challenge.

“They will need this type of support now and into the future as we come out of this crisis.”