Use Libor fines to fund charity training programmes, sector bodies urge the government

The sector should also be consulted on how up to £2bn of funds discovered by the Dormant Assets Commission should be spent, a group of 12 voluntary sector organisations say

Libor fines should help fund charity training programmes and the government should work with the voluntary sector to decide how up to £2bn discovered by the Dormant Assets Commission should be spent, 12 charity sector bodies have told the Treasury.

In a pre-autumn Budget letter to Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, voluntary sector bodies including the Charity Finance Group, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Institute of Fundraising say there are £40m in Libor fines and almost £2bn in dormant assets that have yet to be allocated to any particular scheme, and could be used to support the charity sector.

The letter says that sustainable funding in this manner would help make the most of charities’ "potential to deliver an inclusive economy and shared society" and would help "build civil society’s resilience at a time when traditional funding streams are drying up".

Training is one of the areas for which the letter calls for additional funding, and it says the government’s commitment to fundraising training could be done "on a larger scale" and needs to be coupled with training on issues like finance and digital skills.

Infrastructure bodies should also receive funding to ensure that limited charity sector resources are spent appropriately, according to the letter, especially given the imminent loss of European Union funding.

Both of these proposals could be supported by the remaining money from Libor fines paid by the banking sector, and which has already resulted in £592m being given to the charity sector in recent years, the letter says.

Libor funding has so far been focused on military and emergency services charities but a recent report by the National Audit Office concluded that £57m in Libor fines had been awarded without terms and conditions attached.

The pre-Budget letter says there should also be funding available to increase charities’ access to digital technology.

In the long-term, it says that funds identified by the Dormant Assets Commission earlier this year "could be used to support civil society to deliver its work for years to come".

This includes a £1bn Local Community Foundations Endowment Fund to incentivise donations from local philanthropists, and a £500m Community Asset Investment Plan to help communities purchase important local amenities.

It also says that due to the pressures of Brexit on the government, a consultation should be held with the charity sector to determine how those funds could be best spent.

"Our proposals are small interventions that could deliver significant impact for civil society and for the country as a whole," the letter concludes.

"The government needs every part of our economy and society working effectively to make the best of Brexit. Therefore, it is critical that civil society is not ignored, but rather approached strategically in this autumn Budget."

The Small Charities Coalition, the infrastructure body Navca, Locality, the charity chief executives body Acevo, Children England, Voice4Change England, the Lloyds Bank Foundation, the Ethical Property Foundation, and Social Enterprise UK were the other the letter's other signatories. 

The autumn Budget will take place on 22 November.

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