Autumn Budget 2021: How does it affect charities?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the government’s Autumn Budget, but what does it mean for charities?

Among announcements made in the house of commons on 27 October is the promise of £560m to youth services over the next three years; enough to fund up to 300 youth clubs.

Although it was originally unclear as to whether it was additional funding to the youth fund, it appears to be the same funding re-packaged.

Charities have recently reported that they are yet to see any money from the fund, which was originally announced in 2019.

Levelling up

The first round of bids for the levelling up fund have also been announced, with £1.7bn allocated to 100 areas across the UK. Sunak said the money will be “to invest in the infrastructure of everyday life “ with £150m in Scotland, £110m in Wales, and £50m in Northern Ireland.

The Budget document said the fund will help communities across the UK "protect and manage their most treasured assets" This investment puts community priorities at its core and will improve the local infrastructure crucial to everyday life, such as transport and town centres."

It appears that the fund will only be for physical infrastructure, but charity leaders are calling for it to be used for social infrastructure, including services for children and mental health services.

Funding boost

The Charity Commission also received a boost, with its funding up to £29.8m in 2022-23 and then down to £29m in 2023-24, a 'notable increase' for the regulator on the current budget of £29.2m.

In addition, Sunak said money spent on overseas aid will return to 0.7% of GDP by 2025. The original cuts were heavily criticised across the country when announced.

Investment in museums, galleries, libraries and local culture was a welcome announcement by many, in addition to a tax relief for museums who were hit hard by the pandemic.

The Budget document revealed the government will be providing £52m in new funding for museums and cultural and sporting bodies next year to support recovery from Covid-19 and an additional £49 million in 2024-25 to "thrive thereafter".

Universal credit

Sunak’s final announcement was the lowering of the Universal Credit taper by 8% from 63p to 55p, claiming it was a tax cut for 1.9 million of the lowest earning working families. It will link with the increase in the national minimum wage was also announced in the preceding days of the budget, with over 25s earning £9.50 an hour from April 2022.

The universal credit announcement followed the outcry from charities after the £20 a week uplift from universal credit was cut earlier this year.

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