Rishi Sunak announces £750m support pack for charities
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a £750m funding for charities so they can continue delivering vital help.
Mr Sunak said £360m will be directly distributed to charities providing essential services to vulnerable people in the battle over coronavirus.
This will include up to £200m for hospices, St John’s Ambulance, the Citizens Advice Bureau, and charities supporting vulnerable children and helping domestic abuse victims.
And a further £370m will go to smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund.
Leading the daily Downing Street briefing, Mr Sunak said: “We all know who they are. Those small charities in our villages, our market towns, in pockets of our cities - the unsung heroes looking after the vulnerable and holding together our social fabric.”
The chancellor also promises to match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser later this month “pound for pound”, with a minimum pledge of £20m.
He added: “Charities teach us the lesson that the simplest acts have the potential to change lives.
“At this time, when many are hurting, tired and confined, we need the gentleness of charities in our lives.
“It gives us hope, makes us stronger and reminds us we depend on each other.”
Charities across Cambridgeshire have unveiled emergency appeals over the past few weeks, including both East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity as well as organisations such as Emmaus Cambridge.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s speech in full
“I am striving every day to keep that promise. When I say we all depend on each other, I don’t just mean the relationship between individuals, businesses and the state, one of our greatest strengths is our civil society.
“The local charities who provide so much compassion care and community to the most vulnerable in our country, you have not been forgotten.
“British people, businesses and foundations are already doing their part to support our charity sector. Today we in government will do our part as we build on our plan for the economy with a plan to support our social fabric.
“There are nearly 170,000 charities in this country and the truth is we will not be able to match every pound in funding that they would have received this year.
“Charities can already use many of our existing schemes to support people and to protect their staff. All charities are eligible for the Job Retention Scheme and in line with medical advice, and just like any other employer, the right answer for many charities will be to furlough their employees.
“But some charities are on the frontline of fighting the coronavirus and others provide critical services and support to vulnerable people and communities.
“For them, shutting up shop at this moment would be to contravene their very purpose, their entire reason to exist.
“Those charities have never been more needed than they are now and they have never faced such a sudden fall in their funding.
“Today, I’m announcing £750million of funding for the charity sector. £370million of the funding will support small, local charities working with vulnerable people.
“We will know who they are. Those small charities in our villages, our market towns, in pockets of our cities; the unsung heroes looking after the vulnerable and holding together our social fabric.
“In England, this support will be provided through organisations like the National Lotteries Community Fund and we will allocate £60million of this funding through the Barnett Formula to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“The UK Government will also provide £360million directly to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people as we battle the coronavirus. Up to £200million of those grants will support hospices, with the rest going to organisations like St John’s Ambulance and the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well charities supporting vulnerable children, victims of domestic abuse or disabled people.
“Last night, the BBC announced their Big Night In charity appeal on April 23 and today, I can confirm that the government will match pound for pound whatever the public decides to donate, starting with at least £20million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.
“Two short weeks ago, I spoke of the need for kindness, decency and the sort of neighbourliness that is at the heart of these charitable and community efforts.
“The normally invisible connections between us have in recent weeks become more apparent. For most of us we spend our lives oblivious to these connections, these bonds, and how our behaviours, however small, can have a dramatic effect on others.
“These bonds are not invisible for our local charities. For the volunteer keeping victims of domestic violence safe, for the outreach worker helping a rough sleeper find a bed or for the support worker manning the phones to help stave off the heart-wrenching loneliness so many of our elderly relatives and friends will be experiencing right now.
“These connections might be hard to see but they are there, and they are strengthened by our compassion for others.
“Charities embody this like no other organisation, and their lesson is that the simplest acts have the potential to change lives.
“At this time when many are hurting and tired and confined, we need the gentleness of charities in our lives.
“It gives us hope, makes us stronger and reminds us that we depend on each other.