Today [15 March 2023] the Chancellor delivered his spring budget to the Commons. Among his many announcements, he pledged £100m for the charity sector. Commenting on this welcome news and other announcements, Caron Bradshaw OBE, CEO, Charity Finance Group, said:
“Today the government not only acknowledged the crucial work of the charity and voluntary sector, it backed it up with much-needed cash.
“Mr Hunt’s announcement of £100m to support struggling civil society organisations is to be welcomed, as is the additional fund of £63m for leisure facilities and £10m for suicide prevention services. We also welcome tax relief until 2025 for the UK’s cultural sector.
“We are delighted that the government has listened to the sector and has provided this support. It comes at a critical time as the cost of living continues to bite hard. Recent research shows that many charities continue to struggle to support their beneficiaries and communities whilst meeting their operating costs. They are also facing increased demand for the amazing work they do. Sadly for some, today’s announcement comes too late.
“We have yet to see the detail of how the newly announced funds will be distributed, but we look forward to working with the government to ensure they go where they are needed most, as quickly as possible.
“The investment in the UK charity sector is a wise one but we remain concerned that charities outside the UK will lose out on tax relief. We will be working with HMRC to understand these changes and the effect they will have on the sector’s impact here in the UK and overseas.
“The charity sector is key to the government’s growth policy and its vision to get more people back into work. We have a deep understanding of the issues around employability and our sector works hard every day to unlock people’s potential. Together we drive innovation, build social cohesion and increase wellbeing.
“We trust that the government will work closely with us to truly understand the issues surrounding employability and inclusive employment – and why our sector is under so much pressure. Support on the cost of childcare is a start, but there are many more barriers to break down.
“Very little has been announced today that will fix the gross underfunding and under-resourcing of public services and local government. And this underfunding has a direct impact on our sector as we step in to provide services and support for people and communities that the government cannot.
“Despite the welcome elements, this budget fails to acknowledge that work simply isn’t paying for millions of people. Bills have gone through the roof and times are incredibly tough for many. The charity sector always supports where it can, but we need the government to get behind its financial support of the sector by engaging constructively with us. This is the only way to find real, lasting solutions to the economic crisis and build sustainable, healthy and thriving communities.”
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