Charities critical of Chancellor’s “disappointing” Budget for third sector

A number of charity groups have expressed their disappointment that Chancellor Rishi Sunak failed to make sufficient provision for the third sector in his first Budget.

The Chancellor announced £30billion worth of funding support to help both businesses and the NHS deal with the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak including a temporary Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help SMEs.

However, it has not been made clear whether small charities will be allowed to apply for this emergency funding to help them deal with cashflow issues.

The Chancellor also announced that business rates retail discounts would be extended to museums, art galleries and theatres, providing a one year business rate respite for these organisations.

John Hemming, chair of the Charity Tax Group, said: “Overall, the lack of references to charities in the Budget is disappointing.

“Measures have been introduced to support business and individuals, but the Government can do more to support charities as key supporters of wider society.”

Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “Just as business will need support, charities too expect to struggle if the virus affects the economy, and we are already seeing the impact of coronavirus through issues such as the cancellation of fundraising events.

“We urge the Government to confirm that the announcements to help businesses weather the storm will be extended to include charities across the UK. We hope the Government will support their crucial role.”

Meanwhile, Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive of Power to Change, commented: “This budget simply did not go far enough in helping the organisations we work with respond to Covid-19.

“We would like to see the same principle for business rate relief extended to those eligible for charitable rate relief.

“We eagerly await confirmation that community businesses, charities, social enterprises and other social organisations have access to the new Business Interruption Loans, and to tax deferments or temporary waivers – for example, for VAT.”

Over the coming weeks, the finer details of the Budget’s headline announcements will become clearer. To find out the latest on emergency funding support, business rate changes and other aspects of the Budget which may affect your organisation, please get in touch with our expert charity finance team.