Charity sector leaders have called on the government to urgently make funds available in the Budget for the sector to help deal with the consequences of the escalating coronavirus crisis.
The leaders of the Charity Finance Group, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Acevo are among the organisations that have written a letter to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, asking for the charity sector to be explicitly included in any economic stimulus offered to the business sector as part of the government’s response to Covid-19.
About 120,000 people are officially believed to have contracted the virus since it first emerged in Wuhan, China, in January, and spread across the world, including to the UK.
The government said 373 people in the UK had been diagnosed with Covid-19 as of 9am today.
There are fears that widespread quarantines as seen in China and Italy will soon be needed in the UK, which could leave many charities short of income.
The letter points out that fundraising and trading income are already being affected by Covid-19 and that “disruption to both represents a real risk to solvency for many organisations, and more widely a loss of funds to invest in charitable activity at a time when they may be more needed”.
In addition to a financial stimulus, the letter asks for an emergency fund to be set up to provide grant funding or interest-free loans to charities to cover shortfalls in income due to Covid-19.
Short-term tax deferments or temporary waivers to, for example, VAT, should also be considered to help with any cash-flow issues caused by the virus, the letter says.
Other signatories of the letter are the leaders of the Charities Aid Foundation, the Association of Charitable Foundations, the Directory of Social Change, the Institute of Fundraising, Children England, Navca, the Small Charities Coalition and the Association of Independent Museums.
The Budget will take place tomorrow.
Guidance from the NCVO on Covid-19 can be found here.