Sector leaders urge government to provide financial support

Charity

Charity leaders have increased the pressure on the government to take immediate action to support charities that are faced with losing billions of pounds of income over the coming weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

On Friday, a group of major charity umbrella bodies launched the #EveryDayCounts campaign, which is calling on Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to provide urgent funds to support charities. 

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has estimated that the sector could lose £4.3bn in income over the next three months because of the Covid-19 pandemic, at a time when demand for charities’ services are likely to rocket.

In a blog post published today, Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, warned that charities of all sizes were on the brink of collapse and needed immediate, substantial support.

She said the voluntary sector could be decimated if help was not swiftly provided.

“I usually write in more measured tones,” said Bradshaw. “However, today I feel compelled to side-step softly nuanced diplomacy, take off my gloves and be more forthright.

“Charities are in crisis and we need deliberate and immediate action to avert disaster.”

She said she was frustrated at the lack of recognition by government of the role charities and social change organisations play.

“With the exception of the salary scheme (which, whilst welcome for some charities, is totally ineffective for others), there has been no mention of this sector,” she said.

“No comprehensive package of support. We are left to see whether the schemes devised for business might also work for us. They often don’t.”

Bradshaw added: “I am saying loud and clear to government: time’s up! You must act. It’s time to save our charities.

“Every day counts. The longer it is left the more damage is done.

“Charities are needed now more than ever and they are stepping up to help. We need government support. We need it now.”

The training and publishing charity the Directory of Social Change has also urged charities to write to their MPs to call for urgent aid for the sector.

“Despite some progress last week, government has been too slow to respond to the magnitude of what is coming,” it said in a statement.

“In particular, the Treasury remains unconvinced of the need for swift, substantial and simple financial support for our sector.

“The window of opportunity to change this may be closing, fast. Urgent action is needed today to build public and political pressure on the government.”

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