PMQs: Starmer calls for extra support for armed forces charities

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has called for extra government funding for armed forced charities that are suffering income losses amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Armistice Day this week, Starmer highlighted the financial plight of Help for Heroes.

In September Help for Heroes announced that 90 jobs are at risk as it looks to tackle a 30% drop in income.

During Starmer’s exchange with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Labour Party leader called on the government to ensure armed forced charities are better supported.

“Like many other charities, Help for Heroes has seen a significant drop in its funding during this pandemic, and it is now having to take very difficult decisions about redundancies and keeping open recovery centres for veterans.

“So can the Prime Minister commit today that the government will do whatever they can to make sure our armed forces charities have the support that they need so that they can carry on supporting our veterans?”

However, Johnson was unable to commit to further support, instead he listed existing tax cuts available to charities and urged the public to donate to charities.

“I echo entirely what the right hon. and learned Gentleman says about Help for Heroes; it is a quite remarkable charity and does wonderful things for veterans,” said Johnson.

“In these difficult times, many charities are, of course, finding it tough, and in addition to what the Government are doing to support charities through cutting business rates on their premises and cutting VAT on their shops, I urge everybody wherever possible to make online contributions to charities that are currently struggling.”

Starmer is also concerned that the “package for forces charities was just £6 million during this pandemic and that is just not sufficient”.

He called on Johnson to “reconsider that support on their behalf” especially in the light of recent revelations of government spend on PR consultants. According to Labour the government has spent at least £130m on PR companies in 2020 so far.

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