What civil society could teach the government about ‘getting it done’

  • Budget fails to recognise voluntary sector as an essential service provider
  • Announcements fail to address underlying causes of poverty and inequality

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In response to today’s Budget statement, Charity Finance Group (CFG) has expressed disappointment that once again the contribution and work of civil society has not been recognised.

The long-awaited Budget, the first of the new decade and the first for Rishi Sunak only recently appointed to the role, certainly made some waves, with the highest investment in public services that we’ve had for some time, and a raft of measures to help stimulate private business.

The measures announced to help deal with the impact of Coronavirus include a temporary cut of business rates for small businesses and the museum and leisure sector and it’s good news that local authorities will be fully compensated for the loss of income from these measures.

The removal of VAT on digital publications is a welcome measure for many charities who provide publications and information, and while we’re pleased to see the end of the Tampon Tax, it also spells the end of this funding stream for women’s charities and their beneficiaries.

Investment in homelessness services is also welcome, though it fails to address the underlying causes, and we hope that the role of charities who are best placed to deliver results is recognised.

Aside from these relatively minor concessions, the Chancellor has failed to concede to any of the sector’s asks, and most of the support measures introduced will benefit business and individuals, not hard-working charities. We look forward to the Spending Review in the Autumn which will bring more detail on Local Authority funding and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive, Charity Finance Group said: “There were big headlines and giveaways in this first budget of the new decade. However, it was a budget delivered without adjustments for the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, which could be significant and long-lasting. In addition, the measures dealt with the visible tips of icebergs, such as the homelessness provisions, without digging deep enough into the underlying issues.

“The budget may have been heralded as ‘getting it done’ but we need government to ‘get’ the sector and understand the role it plays in a thriving post-Brexit society” she added.

The overarching takeaway for CFG is that this budget fails to recognise the vital and integral role of civil society in delivering on the government’s aims to ‘level up’ and spread opportunity. Potholes have received many more times the funding than civil society which plays just as vital a role in smoothing the road to levelling up and ‘getting it done’.


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