Great Britain

Rishi Sunak’s support package is ‘sticking plaster’ for struggling charities

The chancellor has unveiled £750m of extra funding for charities amid the coronavirus outbreak, but his measure has already been dismissed as a “sticking plaster”. 

The Guardian says “some of the best-known national charities are in dire straits” as revenue normally generated by charity shops and fundraising events “dries up” during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Rishi Sunak said that £360m would be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting the vulnerable during the pandemic.

Another £370m will be made available to small-and medium-sized charities and community organisations that are providing services such as financial advice and deliveries of food and essential medicines.

“It’s right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750m package of extra funding,” he said.

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The National Council for Voluntary Organisations had earlier forecast that the charity sector would lose £3.7bn of income over the proceeding 12 weeks.

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan told the Daily Mirror the funding was a “sticking plaster” which doesn’t go far enough.

Vicky Browning, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, said the new funding would not be enough to save every charity.

“When a charity closes, it is the people they work with that are harmed and we believe every possible step should be taken to prevent people from experiencing harm because of this pandemic,” she said.

Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said the measures would “offer important and welcome support for civil society at this very difficult time for us all” but added that there was still “a long way to go”.

Several charities have complained of a drastic fall in income.

Earlier this week, Andrew Brady, senior lecturer in leadership and management at Anglia Ruskin University, wrote on The Conversation that the pandemic is a “perfect storm” for charities: an increase in demand for services at the same time as volunteers are forced to stay at home and donations are drying up.

“From food banks to mental health experts, the charitable sector is providing plenty of people with support in these troubled times,” says the BBC, “but charities themselves are reeling from the financial impact of the crisis.”

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