Government working with finance leaders to try to fix banking problems faced by small charities

The government is bringing together voluntary sector and finance leaders in a drive to address banking problems experienced by small charities.

Clare Mills, director of policy and communications at the Charity Finance Group, said John Glen, the economic secretary to the Treasury, had been “very helpful” in brokering initial discussions between experts.

Mills was speaking on the latest Third Sector podcast, which was released today.

A survey of more than 1,000 small charities, conducted by the Civil Society Group and published last week, found that high street banking was often poorly suited to their needs and even resulted in charity trustees holding money in personal accounts or keeping cash at home.

The report was the first publication by the Civil Society Group, formed in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis to lobby the government collectively on behalf of the sector. Its members include the charity leaders body Acevo, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, the CFG and Action with Communities in Rural England.

Talking about a meeting that was held before the research was published, Mills said: “One of the things that happened earlier this year was that we and the Charity Commission and UK Finance, and experts from the banking sector, all went to a meeting at the Treasury that John Glen had arranged.”

She said officials were prepared to listen and said: "The minister was very helpful [and] he had been contacted by charities in his own constituency” about the matter.

Mills said Glen, who is the Conservative MP for Salisbury, “was very keen to see a working group set up with us, the commission and the banking sector”.

UK Finance is leading on the project and MIlls said she hoped the publication of the report will be “a nudge to take that work forward”.

The full interview with Mills is available on the Third Sector podcast.

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