Updated: Jeremy Hunt announces over £100m for charities in spring budget 

15 Mar 2023 News

Jeremy Hunt, chancellor of the exchequer

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced more than £100m for charities in this year’s spring budget.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the government will provide £101.5m of support to charities and community organisations in England over the next two years.

An additional £18.5m has been set aside to go to charities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with £120m overall budgeted for charities in the Treasury’s budget document. Devolved administrations will decide how the £18.5m is spent.

DCMS said around three quarters of the funding will be used to deliver grants in 2023-24, targeted at those frontline charities and community organisations most impacted by increased demand for their services from vulnerable people and increased delivery costs. 

This is likely to include those organisations providing the most vulnerable people with emergency support including accommodation, warmth and food, it said.

The remaining quarter will be used to fund measures over the next two years to increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. This could include new boilers, heat pumps and insulation allowing them to deliver more efficient services for vulnerable individuals.

No details on how any new funding will be distributed have been announced.

Other key announcements 

Hunt also said there will be an additional fund of £63m for leisure facilities and £10m for suicide prevention.

The Treasury announced that tax relief for theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries will stay at rates of 45%-50% until 2025. 

It announced charitable tax reliefs will be restricted from next month only to UK charities and community amateur sports clubs. “European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) charities that HMRC has previously accepted as qualifying for charity tax reliefs before 15 March 2023, will have a transitional period until April 2024,” the Treasury documents read. It estimates that this will save taxpayers £5m in 2024-25 and £10m a year after that.

The Treasury announced that social investment tax relief will be allowed to expire next month. “New investments made on or after 6 April 2023 will no longer qualify for income and capital gains tax relief,” it said.

It has also published a call for evidence on options to reform the VAT relief for the installation of energy saving materials in the UK, which will consider the possible extension of the relief to buildings used solely for a relevant charitable purpose.

After a campaign from the consumer rights champion Martin Lewis and many charities, Hunt also confirmed that the energy price guarantee will remain at £2,500 until July – it had been set to rise to £3,000.

Hunt also said he will invest £200m in regeneration projects in England and £400m is being set aside for levelling up projects.

Meanwhile, the Office for Budget Responsibility reported that inflation in the UK would fall from 10.7% in the final quarter of last year to 2.9% by the end of 2023.

Hunt said the British economy is “proving the doubters wrong” and will avoid recession.

Further dormant assets funding details

DCMS also gave further information on how £31m announced via the dormant assets scheme will be distributed to charities and social enterprises.

It clarified that £20m of this will be given to charities and social enterprises to improve the energy efficiency of their premises.

Some £12m of this will be distributed by social investors Access, with £8m allocated by Big Society Capital (BSC).

A further £11m also allocated by BSC will offer blended finance for voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations that offer services to people impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

Hunt: Charities reach people that government cannot 

Hunt said he has been listening to charities minister Stuart Andrew about the “brilliant work third sector organisations are doing to help people struggling in tough times”.

“They can often reach people in need that central or local government cannot, so I will give his department £100m to support thousands of local charities and community organisations do their fantastic work,” he said.

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Charities carry out incredible work supporting vulnerable people and it is vital they can continue to deliver specialist help and advice for those most in need. 

“This package will mean charities can support organisations whose services are in demand and provide assistance at this challenging time while also providing funding for energy efficiency measures to reduce their future operating costs.”

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