Charity sector leaders frustrated at lack of government funding

20 Mar 2020 News

Charity sector leaders have said that they are frustrated and disappointed by the lack of support from the government, to help charities tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

Some have warned that if the government does not take immediate action to support the sector, many charities will not be able to survive the effects of the virus. This is given that there is increased demand, a lack of available staff and volunteers, and a constricted fundraising landscape.

The Scottish government has announced a £20m resilience fund for charities. 

Leaders have called for sector-specific support for charities and have said that they stand to see significant falls in income.

Speaking to parliament MP Iain Duncan Smith said: “The smallest elements of the voluntary sector who have no reserves are going to lose about £400m during the course of this next few months, and they are going to be the ones that are called upon most for the support in the community to those who suffer.”

He asked Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, to take a close look at what could be done to support the sector. Sunak said that the communities secretary “is talking already to the voluntary sector and we stand ready to provide the support that may be required”. 

So far, this support has not materialised. DCMS had said that it was working with charities to help coordinate a major volunteering push to support people through the virus outbreak. 

The government's emergency legislation includes volunteering leave. The government also included some charity workers and volunteers in its list of key workers who can continue to send their children to school, which has been welcomed by charities.

However sector leaders have reiterated calls for emergency funding for charities struggling because of the current situation. 

Vicky Browing, chief executive at ACEVO, has called for swift action and funding.

Other sector leaders have also expressed their frustrations.

Yesterday more than 500 small charities signed a letter to Boris Johnson, urging the government to recognise the need for financial support for the sector.

The letter states that the sector has been “overlooked” and “unsupported” during the pandemic.

Other support 

Meanwhile the Scottish government and others have announced funding. 

The Scottish government has released £350m to allay the impact of the virus, including £20m to a third sector resilience fund. This is to help charities with immediate cash flow problems. 

Elsewhere Martin Lewis, the founder of Money Saving Expert, and the food retailer Waitrose have announced £1m funds. 

More details of funds that have been launched is available here.  

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