Shadow charities minister backs call by hundreds of charities for emergency government funding

Rachael Maskell says charities are being forced to sell assets and make staff redundant because of the Covid-19 pandemic

Rachael Maskell MP
Rachael Maskell MP

The shadow charities minister has given her backing to a campaign urging the government to provide more emergency funding for charities. 

A letter, signed by more than 650 voluntary sector representatives, calls for the government to urgently establish a new emergency support fund to support charities and voluntary organisations through the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Hundreds of charities have been using the #RightNow hashtag on social media to talk about the work they have been doing to support people during the crisis and call on the Prime Minister to provide additional financial help. 

The move is latest instalment in the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign, which was set up early in the pandemic to call for emergency funding for the voluntary sector in the face of a huge anticipated fall in income. 

In April, the government announced a £750m package of support for the voluntary sector, but that was criticised for being too small and taking too long to reach frontline organisations. 

Rachael Maskell, the shadow minister for civil society, said in a statement that charities were being forced to scale back programmes, sell assets and make highly valued staff redundant. 

“Government failed to provide the very support packages charities and social enterprises needed to survive the turbulence of Covid-19,” she said. 

“Fundraising plans have been scrapped or paused, reserves have been spent, and staff have made sacrifices. 

“But with over £10bn lost in income and just £750m made available for undertaking additional Covid-19 work, nothing was set aside by the government to protect the future social infrastructure of our country.”

What the sector was asking for was “miniscule compared to the waste lavished on dodgy contracts which never delivered”, Maskell said. 

“Our values, our heritage and our future all depend on a vibrant civil society, but right now, there are no guarantees that we can depend on the certainty that the UK’s safety net will be there. 

“It is time for this government to answer Labour’s call and to protect the very survival of our charitable sector.”

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