Sector needs £100m, says NCVO

Umbrella body calls on Government to provide support in response to recession consultation

The NCVO has called on the Government to put together a support package of at least £100m to help the voluntary sector through the economic downturn.

The package should include a £47m fund that would provide grants and short-term loans to charities in financial difficulty, the umbrella body said.

A pot of £12m should be made available to support charity mergers and collaborations, and a further £20m should be made available to support innovative ideas to help communities through the downturn, it proposed.

The proposals were included in the NCVO's submission to the Government's consultation on what help the sector needs during the economic slump.

Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said: "It is vital that the Government commits to these steps that will ensure the sector can cope with the economic downturn.

"We expect parity with the treatment of other sectors, but it also requires action by the Government. It must not act in ways that create additional financial problems for the sector, and we want assurances that commitments to fair funding and contracting will be met."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the department had received "excellent input" from sector organisations.

"The Office of the Third Sector is considering a range of proposals and will publish its action plan shortly," he said.

Chief executives body Acevo called for £500m of support (20 November, page 1) for the sector last year ahead of a meeting between the Government and sector representatives to discuss what would be needed to ease the effects of the recession.

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