It is fair to say that the Charity Sector’s reaction to last week’s Budget reflects disappointment, with quotes such as ‘taking the charity sector for granted’, ‘lack of support for the charity sector’, ‘failed to recognise the vital role civil society plays’. Hardly a glowing endorsement.
So where did the charity sector benefit last Wednesday?
Not specific to the sector, but
- The extension of the Job Retention Scheme to September 2021 may be a lifeline for some charities
- Likewise some charities may be able to benefit from the property related Restart Grants of up to £18,000 where they have qualifying property
- Those charities not in receipt of 100% rates relief will be grateful for the extension to the business rates holiday, again where they have qualifying property
- Similarly, some may benefit from the extension to the temporary reduced rate of vat if they operate within the tourism and hospitality sector
Some important measures in themselves, no doubt gratefully received, but sadly not benefitting the charity sector as a whole.
As is the case with the announcements of additional funding for charities, as again these are limited to specific areas, including tackling domestic abuse, and support of armed forces veterans, the arts sector, zoos and museums.
The charity sector, in line with the economy as a whole, has faced significant challenges over the last 12 months, starting from a point where many charities were already experiencing increased demand for their services, to be delivered with limited resources. The last 12 months will only have made that imbalance worse, as many charities have continued to provide essential services throughout the period, and there is no respite expected in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, for the vast majority, the Budget announcements will not have lightened the load, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. But I have no doubt that the sector will continue to rise to the challenge, and make a little go a long way. Maybe that’s part of its downfall.