Charities in the U.K. have been promised £750m in emergency funding by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help during the coronavirus pandemic. It was estimated by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) that revenue to the sector will fall £4bn during the first 12 weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The chancellor said that £370m would go to small and medium-sized charities, some of which will be distributed via the Lottery Community Fund. Various government departments will kick in another £360m that would go charities handling coronavirus-specific services. There will also be a matching fund for those who contribute to a scheduled fundraiser for the BBC.
“This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people up and down the country rely on,” Sunak said during a press conference outside 10 Downing Street.
In a blog post on the NCVO website, Elizabeth Chamberlin, the organization’s head of policy and public services, wrote that the announcement “also singled out vulnerable children’s charities delivering local services and victims’ charities, including domestic abuse, to help address rising demand. It’s not clear how much flexibility there will be for other types of need – disability charities are an obvious example – and we’d like more clarity on that.”
She also wrote that the government is basically considering the cash as contracting for work the government will no longer be able to handle.
“Charities are eligible for the coronavirus job retention scheme – the furloughing scheme, as it’s usually called,” she wrote. “The government gives grants to employers to pay 80 percent of furloughed staff’s wages up to £2,500 a month (plus employer national insurance and the legal minimum for pension contributions). If you’re pausing activities during the coronavirus crisis, that might well help you. But lots of charities deliver vital services, give much-needed advice and support vulnerable people, and none of that can or should stop in a pandemic. Quite the opposite — the need is growing, not shrinking. Even where a charity can make use of the scheme, it’s probably only an option for some of their staff.”