Charity sector leaders have called on the government to urgently provide more clarity about how EU funds will be replaced next year and to increase funding for local councils in next month’s Budget.
In a letter to Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, from umbrella organisations including the Charity Finance Group, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the charity leaders body Acevo, the government is also urged to make sweeping reforms to charity tax and to create a new Community Wealth Fund.
The letter, which has been published in the run-up to the Budget on 11 March, says more details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which is the UK’s replacement for EU funding, are required before the new funding model comes into force in 2021.
The Conservatives have repeatedly promised a consultation on the UKSPF. The party’s manifesto for last year’s general election promised £500m of the fund would be made available for disadvantaged people, as well as maintaining existing EU funding levels in all four home nations.
But more details are needed about the time period the £500m would be spread over, the letter says, and how the fund would be designed and delivered.
The letter adds that core government funding for local councils is required to offset the impact of cuts of 50 per cent in real terms since 2010/11, and to alleviate increased demand on community and charitable services that have appeared as a result.
A Community Wealth Fund using the near £2bn in dormant assets identified by the Dormant Assets Commission could also help alleviate some of the issues in the UK’s most deprived areas, the letter says.
Funding decisions should be devolved to these communities, the letter adds.
It says the findings of the Independent Tax Commission, which reported last year, should be implemented to ensure more money is directed to good causes and to increase the efficiency of the charity tax system.
“Charities are working in an increasingly tough environment,” the letter says.
“The ability of the sector to continue to help unlock the potential of all parts of the UK depends upon providing them with the resources and structures to make it happen.”