The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has welcomed Lord Mandelson’s
announcement of a series of measures to help businesses
through the recession.
However, it is calling for clearer communication from Government
to charities after Liam Burns MP responding to a question,
in the House of Commons, confirming that these measures
would also apply to some Third Sector organisations.
The measures include a £10bn working capital scheme,
securing up to £20bn in short-term bank lending to
medium sized organisations, an Enterprise Finance Guarantee
scheme, securing £1.3bn of additional bank loans to
small organisations with a turnover of up to £25m,
and a £75m Capital for Enterprise Fund to invest in
small enterprises which need equity.
The loans will be underwritten by the government and provided
by many of the high street banks.
Under the scheme, organisations running commercial enterprises
in the Third Sector and charities who charge for their services
will be eligible to apply including, charity shops, or social
enterprises such as Jamie Oliver’s “Fifteen
Foundation” and the fairtrade “Divine Chocolate
John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: “Lord Mandelson’s
announcement has been well received by the business community
and will be welcomed by many third sector organisations.
However, at the moment they don’t even know that help
may be available to them because Government has been primarily
talking about 'business'.
“We would like reassurance that banks participating
in these initiatives are aware that the lending criteria
extends beyond the private sector and are encouraged to
work with viable Third Sector organisations who are providing
vital services to those most in need. Lord Mandelson has
described “UK companies as the lifeblood of the economy”.
I would describe the Third Sector as the ‘lifeblood
“The government have said they will publish their
action plan for the Third Sector in February. I hope that
any support offered to the sector is not simply bolted on
to measures targeted at business.”