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Government minister hints at 'large package' to help charities

02 Apr 2020 News

Penny Mordaunt, paymaster general

A government minister has hinted that the Treasury has plans for a “large package of support” for charities during the coronavirus crisis.

Penny Mordaunt, the paymaster general, made the comments in a video posted on her website and social media yesterday. She also used the video to back charities’ calls for a “bespoke” response designed specifically for the sector.

Mordaunt has previously served in the cabinet as the minister of defence and the secretary of state for international development.

She is the latest person to say that a package is on its way. Similar statements have already been made by the minister for civil society, chancellor and prime minister. 

Charities have seen their income collapse while demand increases, and have said a tailored support package is urgently needed.

Talking to the Treasury

Addressing charities in her Portsmouth constituency, Mordaunt said: "I know that many of you are having increased demands on your services right at the moment when your fundraising options are being cut. I know many of you have had to cancel events, and obviously people don’t have cash to give away and support you as they want to."

She added: "I have been talking to the Treasury and [the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] about a large package of support for the voluntary sector.

"Without you, we aren’t going to get through this, and there are things you are going to need to do in the recovery. So we want to help you through this.

"I know many of you are making use of some of the schemes that have been announced by the Treasury, but we need something bespoke for the additional things and the services that you need to provide now, and so I have been lobbying the Treasury on that, and hopefully we will have news on that soon."

Mordaunt also said that she had been asking the Treasury for clarity about how charities can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they wish to furlough some staff.

Treasury: 'We want to support charities' 

A Treasury spokesperson said that some measures would already help charities. 

A HMT spokesperson said: “The chancellor has outlined an unprecedented package of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus.

“But we also recognise that some charities are facing difficult decisions, and will not want to shut down their services at exactly the time those service are most needed.

“Our interventions mean that charities can defer their VAT bills, will pay no business rates for their shops next year, and can get a Business Interruption Loan and furlough staff where possible with the government paying 80% of their wages. We want to support people, businesses, and charities to get through this challenging time.”

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