Coronavirus: Chancellor announces £750m rescue package for charities

The government has announced a £750m emergency rescue package to help support charities through the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was made in the government's daily press briefing on 8 April by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

Funding from the Treasury includes £360m of direct grants and £370m for smaller charities, many of which will be through the National Lottery Community Fund.

A further £20m will be made available by matching public donations to the BBC's 'Big Night In' fundraiser, in partnership with BBC Children in Need, Comic Relief and BBC One.

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

However, Sunak warned the measures will not be able to reach every charity.

"There are over 170,000 charities [and] we will not be able to match every pound of funding they would have received this year," he said.

The announcement comes following intense pressure from charity leaders, MPs and peers, who have collectively argued for an individual package of measures that will help to save charities, many of which are on the brink of insolvency.

Earlier this week, the DCMS Committee warned the government that without a rescue package, the sector could lose over £4bn as shops close and fundraising events are cancelled or postponed.

The loss of income comes at the same time as a sharp incline in demand for charitable services across the country.

Many charities have announced plans to furlough employees under the government's Job Retention Scheme, but leaders have warned that furloughing will only apply to around a third of all UK charities.

"Charities teach us the lesson that the simplest acts have the potential to change lives," Sunak said.

"At this time, when many are hurting, tired and confined, we need the gentleness of charities in our lives. It gives us hope, makes us stronger and reminds us we depend on each other."

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