Our brilliant charities are already playing a crucial role in our national effort to fight coronavirus – backed up by an army of volunteers to support those who are most in need. But we want to do more, to give the charity sector the support it needs in these difficult times.
That’s why this week, the Chancellor announced a £750 million package of support to ensure charities can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.
The support package will benefit tens of thousands of charities, ensuring that they can meet demand throughout the crisis. That means more support for communities who need it, and helps charities take pressure off of the NHS.
How the £750 million is allocated
Government departments will allocate £360 million directly to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis. This funding will be allocated directly by the Government to key charities on the front line.
This includes up to £200 million for hospices across the United Kingdom, with the rest going to organisations like St Johns’ Ambulance and the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as those supporting vulnerable children, victims of domestic abuse, and disabled people.
The other £370 million of that funding will support small, local charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund, working with vulnerable people – the unsung heroes looking after the vulnerable in these difficult times, and holding together our social fabric.
Devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland will receive £60 million to support charities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The National Emergencies Trust appeal
This week the BBC also announced their Big Night In charity appeal, on April 23rd. This will be a fantastic event and a great example of the kindness at the heart of charitable community efforts.
This Government will match pound for pound whatever the public decides to donate to this wonderful cause, starting with at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.
The National Emergencies Trust will work with charities to raise and distribute money and support victims at the time of need. Now, during one of the greatest health emergencies in living memory, we are providing extra support where it’s needed.
Our extra support for charities
In addition to the support the Chancellor has laid out this week, charities can already use many of our existing schemes to support people and protect their staff.
Charities can access our support packages, including the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme and the Statutory Sick Pay rebate. And through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, any charity in the country is eligible for a grant to help employees keep their jobs and keep afloat.
We’re also allowing charities to defer their VAT bills until the end of June, to help with cash flow. And all charity shops are exempt for business rates for 12 months in 2020-21. This is to make it easier for charities to focus on supporting the community instead of worrying about cash flow.
Continuing the fight against coronavirus
We know this will not be a short battle – beating coronavirus will take months, not weeks. And it is critical that people continue to follow Government advice: stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.
Our plan is built on the idea that we depend on each other. So these plans are about supporting charities, who form a critical part of the social fabric of our country.
The more people get sick from coronavirus the harder it is for the NHS to cope – meaning more people are likely to die from the coronavirus, as well as other serious illnesses.
So at this moment of national emergency, the hard work of charities helping people who are suffering from the coronavirus outbreak is vital.