‘Charities are at crisis point’, coalition warns Chancellor

A coalition of more 30 charities and infrastructure organisations is urging Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt to offer the sector funding and other support to help them continue supporting communities amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The coalition has written an open letter to Hunt warning him that charities are facing a “triple threat of rising demand, falling income and rising operational costs, particularly energy bills”.

“Many are struggling to retain and recruit both volunteers and paid workers,” their letter adds, ahead of Hunt’s spring budget this week.

“More than half of charities worry about struggling to survive. The challenges are particularly acute for service delivery organisations, including those providing care, support and accommodation. The scaling back or closure of organisations will have a direct impact on the lives of people who already have the odds stacked against them.”

The letter has been signed by NCVO chief executive Sarah Vibert, alongside a raft of charity leaders including Scouts chief executive Matt Hyde, Children England chief executive Kathy Evans and Neil Heslop, the CEO of Charities Aid Foundation.

Being called for is targeted funding for charities to help with energy costs, support to reduce their energy use, more support for disadvantaged families with fuel bills and to uplift government contracts to charities to cover “the true cost of delivering public services”.

“Central government departments must commit to uplifting contracts in line with inflation, and local government settlements and those for devolved administrations must be sufficient to allow local authorities and devolved national governments to do the same,” their letter states.

It adds: “Charities cannot respond to this crisis without support. They report being unable to meet rising demand for help as more people struggle with the impact of high costs.

"Organisations are unable to pass on increased costs because people cannot afford to pay. Many cannot reduce their energy use because it would jeopardise the wellbeing and safety of the people they support.

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