Charities boosted by £750m extra coronavirus funding
9 April 2020: in response to increasing concerns from the charity sector about an urgent lack of funding, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced £750m of extra support for frontline charities across the UK.
Acknowledging the vital role of the UK’s 170,000 charities, the Chancellor said that “shutting up shop at this very moment would contravene their very purpose”.
The first part of the support package is £360m for charities providing vital services and supporting vulnerable people through the current crisis, including:
- 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 a 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 during this difficult time.
This will be allocated by government departments, with the aim of charities receiving the money “in the coming weeks”.
The second part of the support package is £370m for small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England. This will support 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 final part of the support package was a commitment to match fund public donations to the BBC’s ‘Big Night In’ charity appeal on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20m to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.
Yesterday’s announcement builds on previously announced support packages which charities were eligible for, 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.
Whilst the announcement was warmly received by those in the sector, concerns remain about both the short- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on charity finances, with the Chancellor acknowledging that it was not possible to match every pound of funding that charities would have received this year. The impact of the lockdown on charity trading operations and fundraising activity will leave many charities anxiously waiting for further details on the eligibility and timing of these support measures.