Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt backs calls for sector emergency support package

Penny Mordaunt, the government’s Paymaster General, has given her backing to calls for an emergency support package for charities and said she hoped there would be news on one soon.

In a video shared on her Twitter account, the Conservative MP for Portsmouth North said she had been “lobbying the Treasury” for a bespoke scheme to help charities weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which is having a catastrophic impact on the income of many organisations.

Mordaunt, who was the international development secretary at the time of the safeguarding scandal, acknowledged that charities in her constituency, like charities across the country, were facing increased demand at the same time that fundraising income had fallen.

She said she had “been talking to the Treasury and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport about a larger package of support for the voluntary sector”.

She added: “Without you, we aren’t going to get through this and there’s going to be things you’re going to need to do in the recovery.

“So we want to help you through this. I know many of you are making use of the schemes that have already been announced by the Treasury, but we need something bespoke for the additional things and the services that you need to provide now, so I’ve been lobbying the Treasury on that and hopefully we’ll have some news on that soon.”

She told charities in her constituency: “It’s important that we get you through this.”

Although Mordaunt did not use #EveryDayCounts in her post, her comments echo concerns raised by a campaign using that hashtag, set up by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Charity Finance Group, Acevo and the Institute of Fundraising.

The umbrella bodies are calling on the government to put together a support package to help charities deal with an estimated fall in income of £4.3bn over the next three months.

Mordaunt’s comments come as the number of MPs and peers who have signed a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for immediate support for charities has passed 300, according to Stephen Doughty, the Labour MP who put the letter together.

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