The Spring Budget was a “huge disappointment to thousands of charities”, the shadow charities minister has declared.
Yesterday’s set-piece has been roundly criticised by charity leaders for containing little of value to voluntary sector organisations.
Comments have included claims that the government was “taking the sector for granted” and accusing senior ministers of being like “space robots programmed only to speak the language of business and macro-economics”.
In a statement, Rachael Maskell, the shadow minister for civil society, said: "Yesterday’s budget will be a huge disappointment to thousands of charities who have stepped up to play a pivotal role throughout this pandemic.
“The Prime Minister has repeatedly praised their work but seems to have forgotten the promise he made to help them.
“With fundraising and trading stopped, organisations have had to sell their assets, use up their reserves and make staff redundant.”
Maskell said charities and voluntary organisations had a leading role in supporting people and in the recovery of communities across the country.
“Instead, they are being forced to make significant cuts to their support and services.”
Addressing the House of Commons yesterday, Maskell also recalled that the Prime Minister had told MPs in November the government would be doing “much more over the winter to support the voluntary sector”.
But Maskell told the House: “Those were words of hope – and yet, winter is over, the Budget done and barely the crumbs thrown.
“Starving charities will choke off the social recovery we long to see.
“The government’s Victorian belief about charity fails to make the connection that charities today are the engine rooms of social transformation and building community resilience.
“Having closed their shops and stopped their fundraising, the Chancellor is now denying them their future.”
Meanwhile, training and publishing charity the Directory of Social Change said the Budget was “another tragic exhibit of the gaping black hole in the consciousness of our leading politicians and policymakers when it comes to civil society”.
It said: “Like space robots programmed only to speak the language of business and macro-economics, the Chancellor and his colleagues simply don’t understand or value the central role played by charities and other voluntary organisations not just in the economy, but in supporting public services that millions of people rely on.”
It said Britain’s charities saved the state billions of pounds.
“Even in purely economic terms, not recognising this and making it central to the plan is colossally unwise.”