Rishi Sunak announced charity package amid coronavirus

Chancellor Cranks Open the Vaults for Essential Charities Fighting Coronavirus

On Wednesday (8 April) this week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced yet more measures to help key charities afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Frontline workers and ‘essential’ charities are set to benefit from a £750m package of support to cushion the blow of COVID-19 that is wreaking havoc up and down the country. The package is supposed to prevent a potential ‘cliff-edge’ and economic ruin for public services that are now hit with a double whammy of increased demand but potentially depleted staff and support. 

The Chancellor has set up cash grants to the charities considered “unsung heroes” that cannot close during COVID-19 due to their important and often life-saving work every day. 

Almost on a weekly basis, Sunak has announced new economic measures to shield the public through the COVID-19 storm

£350m alone in Governmental support will be split between: 

  • Hospices 
  • St John Ambulance 
  • Domestic abuse charities and services 
  • Vulnerable children charities  
  • Citizens Advice 

Extra support for healthcare charities is a must, but the support outlined for domestic abuse refuges is particularly welcome as lockdown rules have seen an alarming and dramatic spike of cases where numerous women are being murdered at the hands of male violence. The largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, noted a 120% increase in calls to its helpline since lockdown began.

Rishi Sunak announced charity support
Rishi Sunak addressed the nation again on Wednesday to unveil support for charities battling coronavirus. [Image: Internewscast.]

Sunak said that these charities “are playing a crucial role in the national fight against coronavirus, supporting those who are most in need.”  

“It’s right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750 million package of extra funding. 

“This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people up and down the country rely on”, he added.  

The latest package deal follows from an unprecedented reel of similarly designed financial aides that started from the Budget 2020 plan. Almost on a weekly basis, Sunak has announced new economic measures to shield the public through the COVID-19 storm which includes paying 80% of workers’ wages, a mortgage holiday for homeowners and business rates holiday for businesses. Migrant NHS staff have even had their Work Visas extended for at least 1 year.

 In turn, the Chancellor has enjoyed a surge of popularity and public support – far unlike Home Secretary Priti Patel who hasn’t been seen in weeks.  

The Chancellor also said the Home Office would not only donate £20m to the National Emergencies Trust Appeal but will match the donations raised in the BBC’s Big Night In charity special by the public, due to air on 23 April.  

“Today, I can confirm that the Government will match pound for pound whatever the public decides to donate”, Sunak said.

St Johns battle coronavirus
St John Ambulance service is set to be a beneficiary of the new charity support scheme. [Image: Lee Smith/Reuters/The Times.]

Chief Executive of national disability charity Sense, Richard Kramer said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s powerful words on the importance of the voluntary sector in keeping communities together. As he acknowledged, charities like Sense are on the front line supporting disabled children, adults and families that would otherwise not be reached.

“We therefore welcome today’s funding announcement, as a first step in addressing the scale of the challenges. We now need to work together in partnership so that charities can continue to work in this crisis.”

The Chancellor has enjoyed a surge of popularity and public support – far unlike Home Secretary Priti Patel who hasn’t been seen in weeks  

The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said: “Our brilliant charities are already playing a crucial role in our national effort to fight coronavirus – backed up by an army of volunteers.” 

Dowden continued, “We’re determined to support them and match the generosity being shown by the British people. This package will make sure those on the front line are able to reach people who need help most, support communities and take pressure off our NHS.” 

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock said: “The entire charity sector has stepped up as part of our national effort to tackle coronavirus – from helping our NHS heroes to ensuring the most vulnerable among us are cared for properly. 

“Hospices have suffered a huge challenge to their funding due to the outbreak of coronavirus but at the same time continued to play a vital role in delivering compassionate, quality end-of-life care for many people. I am delighted that this cash boost will provide further financial stability and support them to increase capacity of NHS Services and provide stability as we manage our response to coronavirus. 

“It’s vitally important we all continue to support our fantastic and hardworking hospices and their staff during this unprecedented time, and the whole country is grateful for the incredible work they do.” 

The package came just as the UK announced another week of lockdown measures and social distancing.  

Written by
Olivia Bridge