Boris Johnson has promised to do more to support the charity sector through the coming lockdown, while fundraising bodies have said that charities will have to pause public fundraising activities.
England is expected to go into another lockdown from Thursday until at least 2 December. In the House of Commons, Rachael Maskell, Labour's shadow charities minister, asked the prime minister what additional resources will be granted to charities.
Maskell said: “As fundraising opportunities have dried up and retail stores have been closing down, charities themselves are predicted to have a £10bn deficit, and yet are providing more and more services.
“What additional resources will the prime minister bring forward to ensure they can deliver vital services at this time?”
Johnson responded: “We will be doing much more over the winter to support the voluntary sector which is, as she rightly says, doing a fantastic job of helping in this crisis.”
I asked the Prime Minister what additional support he will give charities. He said much more over the winter period. I look forward to seeing the details.— Rachael Maskell MP (@RachaelMaskell) November 2, 2020
In a statement sent to Civil Society News yesterday, Maskell said: “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.”
Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising statement
Meanwhile, the Fundraising Regulator and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising have issued a statement confirming that most public fundraising cannot go ahead.
They said: “As new national restrictions begin in England from Thursday 5 November 2020, subject to parliamentary approval, we expect charities and their partners to pause public fundraising activities (including door-to-door, street, and private site fundraising) for the duration of the new restrictions. In other UK nations, fundraising should be carried out in line with the restrictions that apply in each country and according to our guidance.
“These should be reviewed regularly as arrangements may change. In areas where there are tight restrictions in force (for example, the closure of non-essential shops), we similarly expect public fundraising to be paused.”
March promises from government
When the first lockdown happened, it took some weeks for bespoke financial support for charities to be announced.
In March, 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”.
However, it was not until 8 April that Rishi Sunak announced £750m in new funding for charities.
In the aftermath of this announcement, the government was criticised by some for being too slow to release the money.