Coronavirus: Rishi Sunak announces £750 million funding for charities

8 April 2020, 17:42

Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced £750 million of funding for the charity sector, calling them the "unsung heroes" of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Mr Sunak said it will include £370 million for small local charities working with vulnerable people.

£60 million of this will be allocated through the Barnett formula to those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A further £360 million will go to charities providing essential services supporting vulnerable people.

"We all know these charities, the charities in our villages and market towns - the unsung heroes of the coronavirus fight," he said.

£200 million will be going to hospices.

The rest will be going to organisations like St John Ambulance and the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as those charities supporting victims of domestic abuse, vulnerable children and disabled people.

But there are concerns the funding levels announced by the chancellor will not be enough with one organisation saying charities had been hit closer to the tune of £4billion since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Sunak said: "Some of these charities are on the front line of the coronavirus fight, and for them shutting up shop at the moment is just not possible.

"They have never faced such a sudden fall in funding."

Charities such as Red Cross will receive funding
Charities such as Red Cross will receive funding. Picture: PA

The Chancellor warned he could not save every job, business or charity with his emergency measures.

Asked if some are falling through cracks and whether he needs to take urgent action for those not covered by his schemes, he said: "I've been very clear and very honest that this will take a significant impact on our economy.

"In spite of what are unprecedented measures in scale and scope, I can't stand here and say I can save every single job, protect every single business or indeed every single charity.

"That's just simply not possible."

However, his announcement has already received criticism.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations charities has already told the DCMS select committee the charity sector is facing £4 billion black hole, Sky News reported.

Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), said: "This set of measures from the Treasury will offer important and welcome support for civil society at this very difficult time for us all."

But he added that "there is still a long way to go".

"Recognising the humbling generosity of the British public right now is so vital as we rally together in the face of such a national challenge," he added.

Welsh Labour MP Stephen Doughty said on Twitter: "Finally. Any new funding from @RishiSunak for charities and voluntary sector is welcome as is recognition of work tackling #Coronavirus consequences - but £750m is well short of what will be needed. Just one cancelled event - London Marathon - raises £66m alone."

Mr Sunak also gave an update on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition.

He said Mr Johnson is receiving "excellent care", adding: "The latest from the hospital is the Prime Minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving.

"I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team.

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"The Prime Minister is not only my colleague and my boss but also my friend, and my thoughts are with him and his family."

Mr Sunak added: "The news about the PM reminds us how indiscriminate this disease is.

"Nearly everyone will know someone who has been affected - friends, family, neighbours, colleagues.

"This is a terrible virus that respects no boundaries of status or geography or vocation."

Mr Sunak said all Britons are taking part in a "collective national effort" to protect vulnerable people and public services and to save lives.