Yesterday thousands of charities urged the government to create an emergency fund, but the government says the sector is still benefiting from last year’s “unprecedented” package.
Over 800 charities and leaders have signed an open letter to the prime minister and 2,500 have supported the #RightNow campaign on Twitter.
The campaign was coordinated by the #NeverMoreNeeded coalition and calls for additional funding to support charities. Many continue to struggle to fundraise during lockdown, but at the same time have seen demand for services increase.
Rachael Maskell, Labour’s shadow minister for civil society, backed charity demands for extra funding and attacked the way the government has treated charities during the pandemic.
“Government failed to provide the very support packages charities and social enterprises needed to survive the turbulence of Covid-19,” she said.
“Fundraising plans have been scrapped or paused, reserves have been spent, and staff have made sacrifices. But with over £10bn lost in income and just £750m made available for undertaking additional Covid-19 work, nothing was set aside by the government to protect the future social infrastructure of our country.
“Right now the sector is crying out, ahead of the budget, for attention. Its comparable asks are miniscule compared to the waste lavished on dodgy contracts which never delivered.”
Government: ‘We have already provided a multi-billion-pound package’
Responding to the campaign, the government did not commit to any future support for the sector.
A spokesperson said that last year’s support was an “an unprecedented multi-billion-pound package of support, which is by far the most generous in Europe”.
More than 15,000 charities had received extra funds from the £750m package, and the spokesperson said: “Wider government support schemes have helped many more.”
The government has also been under pressure for extra support from other sectors, such has hospitality, which have legally been ordered to close. Some of last year’s emergency support for small charities was intended to help organisations switch to digital models.
The spokesperson added that the government would continue to listen to charities and urged the public to donate.
“Charities will continue to benefit from this major investment in the sector in the coming months. Whilst we continue to work closely with the sector to understand where pressures are being felt, we also encourage the public to support our charities in whatever way they can.”