Coronavirus: Govt’s package 'a drop in the ocean' and not enough to save sector, leaders warn

The government’s £750m rescue package is a 'welcome start', but ‘much more needs to be done’ to save charities, sector leaders have warned.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the government would be making £750m available to support charities through the coronavirus crisis – a package consisting of £360m in direct grants, £370m for smaller charities and £2m in donation-matching to the BBC’s ‘Big Night In’ fundraiser.

But charity sector leaders have warned that while it’s a 'good first step', ‘much more needs to be done’ to help save charities from insolvency.

NCVO chief executive, Karl Wilding said the funding “won’t be enough to prevent good charities around the country from closing their doors”.

“Even many that survive will look very different very soon, with severely reduced capacity to provide the support people rely on,” he said.

The NCVO, along with other sector bodies, including CFG and the IoF, have already estimated that a total of over £4bn could be wiped from the sector in the next few months as charities struggle to cope with demand and continue to lose income from reliable fundraising sources.

‘A drop in the ocean’

The Children’s Society chief executive, Mark Russell said the sector needs to see ‘finer details’ of the government’s package.

“On the face of it, the cash support announced is a drop in the ocean compared to what charities desperately need to continue supporting some of the country’s most vulnerable people in these worrying times,” he said.

“The Chancellor acknowledged that charities supporting vulnerable people cannot simply stop their work, so it was disappointing there was no announcement that furloughed frontline staff will be allowed to continue to volunteer. We need to step up our response and mobilise, not mothball our fantastic staff right now.

“We would implore the government to do more before it is too late.”

‘Direct support is needed’

Meanwhile, Young Women’s Trust CEO, Sophie Walker called for more direct support to help survive the effects of the crisis.

“This is a start but nowhere near enough to support a sector already straining to support millions of vulnerable people coming under further strain,” she said.

“Charities need much more direct support and people in crisis need a welfare safety net they can actually live on.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his speech that the package won’t be enough to reach every charity, while recent figures have shown many charities are likely to be insolvent 'within weeks'.

Acevo CEO, Vicky Browning said when a charity closes “it is the people it works with that are harmed”, adding that “every possible step should be taken to prevent people from experiencing harm during this pandemic”.

“This is a first step, but it is a fraction of what is needed to meet the scale of the crisis that our communities are facing.”

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