The charity sector will receive £100m to help organisations to back “people struggling in tough times”, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced.
In a surprise announcement at the start of this afternoon’s budget, Hunt said: “I have heard from my right honourable friend the charities minister [Stuart Andrew], and his secretary of state, about the brilliant work third sector organisations are doing to help people struggling in tough times.
“They can often reach people in need that central or local government cannot.
“So I will give his department £100m to support thousands of local charities and community organisations do their fantastic work.”
Treasury documents published shortly after the Budget show that £105m will be made available as “funding for services and energy efficiency” for charities in 2023/24 and another £15m in 2024/25.
The papers add: “This will be targeted towards those organisations most at risk due to increased demand from vulnerable groups and higher delivery costs, as well as providing investment in energy efficiency measures to reduce future operating costs.”
Long-term support with energy efficiency was a key Budget demand from a coalition of charities last week.
About three-quarters of the money will be used for grants “targeted at those frontline charities and community organisations most impacted by increased demand for their services”, with an emphasis on emergency help including accommodation, warmth and food, according to DCMS.
The remaining money will be used to fund “the energy efficiency and sustainability of voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations”, and could include cash to buy new boilers, heat pumps and insulation for charity buildings, the government said.
Saskia Konynenberg, director of strategic communication and insight at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said on Twitter that she was “euphoric” about the announcement, which came after a “long journey” lobbying the government.
NCVO representatives visited 10 Downing Street earlier this week.
Jane Ide, chief executive of Acevo, said the investment was “substantial”, adding: “I think our sector can be very proud that it has been heard, been acknowledged and continues to have impact politically in ways that perhaps we have not seen for several years.”
Hunt also said that suicide prevention charities would receive £10m of government funding over the next two years “to help the voluntary sector play an even bigger role”.
He confirmed the much-trailed news that he was scrapping a plan to lift the cap on energy bills to £3,000 per household. It will remain at £2,500 for the coming months.