Sunday 16 August 2020 / 10:58 PM Rachael Maskell

One in 10 charities risk going under before receiving government help

One in 10 charities are at risk of going into administration before receiving government help, Labour warns ahead of the deadline for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund.

Labour’s analysis shows this could risk the future of some of those who have made the biggest difference to communities worst-hit during the pandemic. This includes support for vulnerable children, those at risk from domestic violence, and older people.

It follows news that nearly three quarters of the £200m pot to support small and medium sized charities hit by the coronavirus pandemic is yet to be allocated four months after it was announced by the Government.

Some charities will have had to wait more than half a year before they receive “emergency” funds, despite repeated assurances that applications will be dealt with “at pace”.

Small charities are more likely to suffer, with 16% of those with an income of under £500,000 saying it was likely they would close over the next six months, compared to 3% of large charities.

The National Lottery Community Fund, which is managing the £200m CCSF on behalf of the Government, is closing to applications today (Monday 17th August at noon) because it says closing early would help it meet as many requests as possible.

The NLCF has said that it aims to finish distributing all grants by the end of October. But the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has handed £1.4m to auditing firm PwC to “oversee” grant decisions until the end of November, which has led to concerns charities may face even longer delays.

In a survey by the Institute of Fundraising, published in March, 10% of registered charities predicted that their organisation would be forced to shut in the next six months.

When he unveiled the funding package in April, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:  “It’s right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time” but many charities say they have been forgotten.

Rachael Maskell MP, Labour’s Shadow Charities Minister, said:

“Despite the Government praising the vital work of charities during this crisis they are now cutting off vital support while many are at risk of closure and still more are having to make cuts to their services.

“When charities are crying out for help, it is shocking that the Government is prioritising handing £1.4m to one of the Big Four accounting firms for work that is usually done in the public sector.

“With one in 10 charities at risk of going under, time is running out.

“These organisations are helping our communities get through this crisis. The Government needs to support them before it is too late.”