‘Forgotten’ charities need government funding for second lockdown, says shadow minister 

02 Nov 2020 News

Charities must receive an urgent financial support package, Rachael Maskell Labour MP for York Central has said.

Over the weekend Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown for England, which is expected to come into effect on Thursday and remain in place until 2 December.

After the announcement, the shadow charities minister tweeted that without added support, many charities may not survive the pandemic.

The tougher coronavirus restrictions include strict curbs on travel and the closure of many institutions.

The prime minister told the public these measures were necessary to slow the spread of the virus. 

During the first lockdown, the chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak provided  £750m in new funding for charities.

In a statement sent to Civil Society News this morning, Maskell added: "Charities and social enterprises have all but been forgotten by government following the initial £750m made available on 8 April. 

"This year’s deficit is already projected to exceed £10bn, while this latest lockdown will further harm charity finances as retail outlets close and fundraising events are cancelled. It is time the prime minister recognised the consideration contribution of the sector – which has stepped in like never before during this pandemic."

Furlough extended

Charities will be able access the extension of the government's furlough scheme. 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was going to be replaced with a less generous Job Support Scheme this month. However, the original scheme has now been extended, with the government covering 80% of furloughed workers' salaries in November and employers expected only to cover national insurance payments and pension contributions.

Charitable or non-profit organisations are eligible for the scheme, though it does not help charities that are expecting a surge in demand.

The coronavirus crisis was previously estimated to cost the charity sector 60,000 jobs, according to an analysis by Pro Bono Economics (PBE). This followed on from analysis earlier this year which identified a £10bn funding gap. 

Surge in giving during spring lockdown

There was a surge of charity donations during the first lockdown, according to the latest figures from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The public reported giving an additional £800m to charities in the first half of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.

CAF said that the value of individual donations also rose during lockdown, to a monthly median of £30 in May compared to the long-term average of £20. The research is based on how people describe their own giving habits. 

Volunteering to go ahead

Under the new guidance, volunteering is included in one of the reasons the public can leave their homes.  

Places of worship will also be closed unless they are being used for specific purposes. These purposes include essential voluntary and public services, such as for food banks.

Youth clubs and charity shops to close

Some youth services may be able to continue, such as one-to-one youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period, the government said.

Furthermore, all non-essential retail including most charity shops must close.

The Charity Tax Group has collated coronavirus information in a hub, which looks at the furlough scheme and other measures.

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.


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