The Comprehensive Spending Review, charity and funding

Rachel with a cup of tea

The Chancellor’s speech on 25th November didn’t make much mention of small charities or the voluntary sector in general.

However the Comprehensive Spending Review does impact charities.

There are even some potential new funding opportunities.

Here I look at the main areas small charities should be aware of.

Supporting Charities

Overall there was little mention of the work that charities do and the way they have stepped up to support communities this year. However, there were two points to note regarding the future direction of travel of the government’s support for charities.

  • There is some suggestion that there may be cuts at the Office for Civil Society. This is the department that is most focused on charities and not for profit organisations.
  • An increase in funding for Charity Commission relating to their work to “uphold public trust” in charities. The sector expects more charities to wind up in the post-Covid environment so this may relate to that.

Comprehensive Spending Review charity opportunities

Depending on your charity’s area of work there may be some funding opportunities for your charity as a result of the spending review:

  • The levelling up fund: There will be more detail on this in January but a fund is being created that local authorities can bid for which may benefit some small charities. Examples of what it may be used for include building of new community facilities and transportation.  It is worth keeping an eye out for this.
  • Culture and Sport funds: The Department for Culture Media and Sport will have capital for arts and sport. Small charities may also be able to access some of the £60 million funding for for Sport England to run community projects.
  • UK Shared Prosperity Fund: This fund has been promised to replace EU funding and more details will be available in the spring. Areas of focus will include skills and training, cultural and sporting activities and local business support. Some funding opportunities may be available via your local council, but look out for more details.
  • Rough Sleeping: If your charity works with rough sleepers your local authority may have increased commissioning opportunities. There have been more funding made available for this.
  • Jobs and Employment Training: Again, more details are expected but as with the Kickstart scheme small charities may have opportunities to get involved.
  • Green Jobs: Your charity may find the Nature for Climate Fund of £90 million of interest if your charity works on e.g. tree planting or peatland restoration.

Areas of concern

The Comprehensive Spending Review contains a lot of focus on the dichotomy between ‘private’ and ‘public’ sectors. It makes very little mention of civil society, charities and voluntary organisations at all.

This suggests some of the specific needs of charities may not have been considered.

For charities working internationally, the plan to reduce the overseas aid budget target from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP could be very significant. This will require legislative change, so parliament will debate this further.

Much of the investment in the infrastructure appears to be focused on capital spending projects for example buildings rather than the sort of infrastructure services that charities provide.

Response from the sector

The Small Charity Coalition’s view is that the Comprehensive Spending Review for charities is not focused on the charity sector. They believe there is a need to make the case that charities can and do make a difference, especially when they save the public purse so much money.

Further reading

The best way to stay in touch with tips and support on your charity’s finances is to sign up for free to my newsletter here

If you’d like to know more about how Holy Brook works with charities take a look here

The Small Charity Coalition is a useful organisation to be part of for updates relating to local and smaller charities.

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