Chancellor announces £750m support for charities during coronavirus outbreak

Image: © HM Treasury

Rishi Sunak has unveiled a funding package worth £750 million to the charity sector as a way to combat the economic impact of Covid-19.

Of this figure, £370 million will be allocated to small- and medium-sized charities through grants administered by organisations such as the National Lottery Community Fund.

The predominant aim of the funding is to support the tens of thousands of charities working on the front line to meet increased demand due to the outbreak.

As such, £360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.

“Our charities are playing a crucial role in the national fight against coronavirus, supporting those who are most in need. It’s right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750 million package of extra funding,” Rishi Sunak noted as the funding announcement was made.

A further £370 million set aside for small- and medium-sized charities will support those “at the heart of local communities which are making a big difference during the outbreak”. How much of this will be made directly available to charitable organisations in the culture sector is yet to be confirmed.

“Our brilliant charities are already playing a crucial role in our national effort to fight coronavirus – backed up by an army of volunteers,” said culture secretary Oliver Dowden. “We’re determined to support them and match the generosity being shown by the British people.”

The chancellor has also pledged to match fund however much the public donates during the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal, set to be held on 23rd April. At least the first £20 million of this amount will be given to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

These measures to support the ailing charitable sector are on top of the steps previously announced – deferring VAT bills, paying no business rates next year, furloughing staff with the government paying 80% of wages – by the Treasury in recent weeks.

“I’ve been inspired by how charities and voluntary groups have stepped up to support people and communities through this crisis,” states Dawn Austwick OBE, chief executive of the National Lottery Community Fund. “So this support from Government is welcome, we look forward to working alongside Government and others to ensure these new funds have the biggest possible impact in communities.”