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Charities to share £750 million fund to help them survive coronavirus outbreak

There are nearly 170,000 charities in the UK.

3 min read

An emergency £750 million fund has been set up by the Government to help charities survive the coronavirus crisis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the move following reports that multiple charitable organisations face financial ruin as a result of the outbreak.

Around half the cash - £360m - will be directly allocated by Whitehall departments to charities providing key services and helping vulnerable people through the crisis.

A further £370m will be targeted at small and medium-sized charities, with some of the money coming from the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England.

Organisations set to benefit from the grants include those delivering food and medicines and providing financial advice.

In addition, Mr Sunak said the Government will match whatever is raised by the BBC's 'Big Night In' charity appeal, which will be broadcast on 23 April.

At least £20 million will also be given to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

The Chancellor said: "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.  

"This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people up and down the country rely on."

Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "This set of measures from the Treasury will offer important and welcome support for civil society at this very difficult time for us all.

"Recognising the humbling generosity of the British public right now is so vital as we rally together in the face of such a national challenge.

"Charities at the front line and all those working to support our society need help to perform their vital function bringing people together at this time of enormous challenge.

"They will need this type of support now and into the future as we come out of this crisis."

But Labour called on the Govenrment to do more to support struggling charities.

The party’s new Shaodw Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, said: "Labour has been calling on the government for some time to provide charities with additional financial support, and while this announcement is welcome it falls far short of filling the financial black hole many organisations are facing.

"Ministers should continue to look at what additional measures can be made available.

"We must also see concerted action to guarantee this support can get to charities swiftly to prevent further damage being done."

Labour MP Stephen Doughty - who has led a cross-party campaign to demand action from the Treasury - said the money did not go far enough.

He tweeted: "Any new funding for charities and voluntary sector is welcome as is recognition of work tackling #Coronavirus consequences - but £750m is well short of what will be needed. Just one cancelled event - London Marathon - raises £66m alone."

And his fellow Labour backbencher Wes Streeting said: "I am concerned that this doesn't go nearly far enough to provide the support needed for the charity sector, which is experiencing a devastating impact on fundraising and unable to furlough staff delivering vital services.

"This has be the start of a rescue package, not the total."

Chief executive of the children's charity Barnardo’s, Javed Khan, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s recognition that charities are needed now more than ever.

"But with the sector set to lose £4billion in 12 weeks, the £750million package announced today is little more than a sticking plaster and does not go far enough to ensure Barnardo’s and other charities can continue to support vulnerable children and adults during this extraordinary period and beyond."

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