The Prime Minister has promised to do “much more to support the voluntary sector” over the winter as it grapples with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Boris Johnson was responding to a question in the House of Commons today from Rachael Maskell, the shadow charities minister, as part of an announcement that England will face at least a month of stricter lockdown measures from Thursday.
“Charities have been never more needed,” said Maskell. “As fundraising opportunities have dried up and retail stores have been closing down, charities themselves are predicted to have a £10bn deficit, and yet are providing more and more services.
“What additional resources will the Prime Minister bring forward to ensure they can deliver vital services at this time?”
Johnson responded: “We will be doing much more over the winter to support the voluntary sector, which is, as she rightly says, doing a fantastic job of helping in this crisis.”
It is not clear whether Johnson was suggesting the government might offer additional support, or referring to existing coronavirus schemes that charities will be able to make use of over the coming months.
Maskell’s question comes after she urged the government to provide more support for charities and social enterprises in a statement on Twitter over the weekend.
Charities must receive an urgent financial support package. Without this, many will not survive the pandemic. It is time @OliverDowden @RishiSunak brought forward a substantial package. They are there to support us, but they need a Government to support them. #NeverMoreNeeded— Rachael Maskell MP (@RachaelMaskell) October 31, 2020
In an additional statement, Maskell said charities and social enterprises had been “all but forgotten by government” since the initial £750m package in April.
"This year’s deficit is already projected to exceed £10bn, while this latest lockdown will further harm charity finances as retail outlets close and fundraising events are cancelled,” she said.
“It is time the Prime Minister recognised the considerable contribution of the sector – which has stepped in like never before during this pandemic."