The government’s support package for charities
NCVO welcomes the government’s £750m support package. However, it will not be enough to prevent good charities around the country from closing their doors, as the Culture Secretary has conceded. Many of the charities which do survive will see severely reduced capacity to provide support for those people rely on them.
What now needs addressing is how the money will be distributed. Government has stated that it aims for charities to receive funding from this week. The importance of the money being distributed swiftly cannot be underestimated.
There also needs to be clarity on what the criteria for eligibility and prioritisation will be. Funding needs to be used to meet everyone's needs and rights.
Furthermore, clarity is required on how the fund will address regional inequality across the UK. Some poorer areas of the country have populations that are more reliant on charities and will feel the impacts of a reduction in services far more.
We also urge Treasury officials to work with civil society and DCMS to address the medium and long-term scale of the financial challenge ahead, and to ensure that the critical support civil society provides will continue to be able to meet need both in time of crisis and beyond.
We welcome the newly-published Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee report on the financial impact of covid-19 on charities, which highlights the range of needs that will not be met if charities are unable to survive this crisis, and that government support announced so far is not sufficient to protect the scale and diversity of charities that exists today.
We share the concerns set out in the report about the lack of transparency around the funding that has so far been announced, and the lack of eligibility criteria set out. Furthermore, we are pleased to note that the committee has backed our call for a stabilisation fund that would allow charities to play their role not just in fighting the crisis but supporting the country as it recovers.
Charities need to be able to support people who need it most. They cannot do this if they have to suspend their work or worse, close altogether.