Rishi Sunak pledges money to four specific areas of the charity sector 

03 Mar 2021 News

Rishi Sunak, chancellor

Domestic abuse services, veterans charities, thalidomide survivors, and the arts sector will all get extra funding, Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, said in today's Budget. 

First, the government has pledged an additional £19m towards tackling domestic abuse.

This will include £15m in 2021-22 across England and Wales to increase funding for perpetrator programmes that work with offenders to reduce the risk of abuse continuing, and £4m between 2021-22 and 2022-23 to trial a network of ‘Respite Rooms’ across England to provide specialist support for homeless women facing severe disadvantage.  

This will be in addition to the £125m already announced for local authorities to deliver the Domestic Abuse Bill’s new statutory duty to support victims.

Thalidomide 

Second, Sunak committed money to thalidomide survivors. The Thalidomide Health Grant has been renewed, and the budget makes a lifetime commitment to continue the grant beyond 2022-23 in England when existing funding runs out, “so that no-one supported by it has to worry about the future costs of their care”. 

This commitment includes an initial down payment of around £39m for the first four years after the current grant runs out. 

Deborah Jack, executive director of the Thalidomide Trust, said: “This is fantastic news. Sadly, as our beneficiaries age they are experiencing multiple health problems in addition to their original thalidomide damage and the costs of meeting their complex needs are significant.

“We are really pleased that the government has recognised this by committing to lifetime financial support and also agreeing to review the level of funding regularly to ensure it is meeting their changing needs.”

Rowland Bareham, a beneficiary of the Thalidomide Trust and chair of the charity’s National Advisory Council added: “I know that, like me, thalidomide survivors across England will be delighted and relieved that the government has guaranteed funding for their whole lives.

“Since it was introduced in 2010, the government Health Grant has made an enormous different to the quality of our lives – helping us to manage our high levels of pain and maintain our mobility and independence without risking further damage.”

Development of a digital and data strategy for armed forces charities

Armed forces charities will receive up to £475,000 in 2021-22 to support the development of a digital and data strategy for the sector. 

“This will improve the ability of charities to work together and with government,” the Budget document said.  

The government will also support veterans mental health support, by providing an additional £10m in 2021-22 to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, “to deliver charitable projects and initiatives across the UK that support veterans with mental health needs, ensuring that veterans can access the services and support that they deserve”.

The Confederation of Service Charities: ‘’The funding paves the way for a game-changing step’

General Sir John McColl, chairman of Cobseo, The Confederation of Service Charities, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome the news that the government has committed to support the digital transformation of the armed forces charity sector. This scoping project has the potential to secure a more efficient future for all organisations providing life-saving support for veterans. The funding paves the way for a game-changing step towards developing an integrated digital-first system that will provide veterans with the vital support that they need.”

£300m for culture

The government has also pledged £300m to extend the “Culture Recovery Fund to continue to support key national and local cultural organisations in England as the sector recovers.”

It will provide £90m for continued support for government-sponsored National Museums and cultural bodies in England.

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