Government announces £750m for charities

The Westminster government has announced a package of £750m to support charities during the covid-19 outbreak. ACF will be examining the details and will update members further in due course.

Charity trustees should (in normal times) be the ones best able to manage risks to their charity. These are not normal times and no charity can completely manage situation where fundraised income and income from trading completely dries up. Only Government has capability to match the scale of the crisis.

Charities are expecting to lose around a third of their total income in the coming months, with many impacted more severely and in danger of ceasing to exist. Losing so many charities now means not just losing essential services in the short-term, but also means losing the skills, knowledge and ability to sustain voluntary action into the future as we come out from the pandemic.

Existing government support for business can help charities, but:

  • Furloughing staff is very difficult when you still need to deliver services and provide public benefit, so only some charities and some activities can benefit from this
  • And charities don't necessarily qualify for the support the government has linked to business rates, from which many charities are exempt.

So the announcement on funding is welcome but we need to see if the funding can provide the life line to get past the lockdown and return to stable income sources. This is not yet “job done” for charities coping with the impact of coronavirus on their work.

It’s also the case that many charities already running on empty after ten years of cuts in income from public sector.

We also need to see where the funding is coming from. The £360m of funding for non-local charities "is allocated by government departments", so we will want to see what other funding is being diverted.

Finally, the Chancellor was right to mention how foundations are stepping up to this crisis to help with new funding and flexibility for grantees. We know that 90% of foundations who responded to our survey are already putting in place measures to help their grantees, and we estimate our members and other foundations are committing around £750m of funds to tackle coronavirus and help those affected by it.

Richard Hebditch
Director of External Affairs


We support UK foundations and grant-making charities