I am deeply concerned about the impact that the Coronavrius crisis is having on the charity sector. In particular, I am concerned about the charities which have been working on the front line, in healthcare settings, whilst suffering a significant drop in their income as a result of the ongoing crisis.
For example, back in April, I raised the case of the Bolton Hospice with the Government:
In that same month, I wrote to the Government about the impact that the Coronavirus crisis is having on health charities in general. I have posted a copy of my letter to Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, along with the reply that I received from Baroness Barran, below this post.
The two main issues that healthcare charities had raised with me, and that I had passed on to the Minister, were the large amounts of irrecoverable VAT to pay, and the apprenticeship levy, which they would still need to pay, even though members of their staff had essentially been drafted-in to the front line healthcare services.
It was disappointing that Baroness Barran did not outline how the Government will be helping charities on these two fronts. Indeed, the Government’s VAT deferral scheme ended on 30 June 2020, with no sign of renewal.
The other measures mentioned by Baroness Barran are welcome, and whilst I understand that the Government cannot replace every penny that charities would otherwise have taken-in during this crisis, I am concerned about the long-term survival of these charities and the services that they provide.
I can assure you that I will continue to raise the issue of charity support with the Government, along with the other sectors which will continue to need support going forward.