Policy, campaigns & research, Policy

DSC policy update – week commencing 22 February 2021

DSC Researcher, Rebecca Eddington, rounds up the policy news from around the sector.

This week includes an update on the #RightNow campaign, including a response from the government who right now don’t look like they’ll be providing extra support. But as Jay Kennedy, our Director of Research and Policy said: ‘Regardless we’ll keep on trying’ so do keep showing your support for the campaign!


Last Wednesday (17 February) saw the launch of the #RightNow campaign. Hundreds of people showed their support for the campaign – over 2000 people used the hashtag on social media including the Shadow Civil Society Minister, Rachael Maskell. She tweeted ‘It is time for this Government to answer Labour’s call and to protect the very survival of our charitable sector. We need this right here and right now.’ You can read her full statement on the campaign here, where she explains that charities are being forced to sell assets and make staff redundant. The Guardian also covered the campaign and named some of the bigger charities to sign the open letter to the Prime Minister such as Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief, Samaritans and Barnardo’s. They also included a comment from Debra, our CEO: ‘Tens of thousands of charities are at breaking point, facing a double threat of massive increases in demand for help, and drops in income due to the pandemic. Allowing them to fail will rip support away from our most vulnerable people and communities, leaving them no one else to turn to.’ In response to the campaign the government haven’t committed to any future support for the sector, with a spokesperson saying that last year’s support was an ‘unprecedented multi-billion-pound package of support’ and charities ‘continue to benefit from this major investment’.

The Value of Small in a Big Crisis

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales commissioned a report, The Value of Small in a Big Crisis, which found that small charities played a vital role in supporting people and communities throughout the pandemic in a way that public services could not. The report found that small, medium, and local charities responded effectively because of their role in communities and being able to adapt their provision in response to new needs. Civil Society included a comment from Paul Streets, the CEO of Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales in their coverage: ‘If government really wants to help people through Covid-19 and beyond it should invest more in small frontline charities – who are already on the ground in their communities and achieve fantastic results – and less in big top-down private contracts. We call on government, councils, and other funders to act on the report’s recommendations to ensure small charities can be there to help the county and communities recover and rebuild.’ At the report launch event this morning, Baroness Barran, minister for civil society, confirmed that there were no plans for ‘another dedicated package’ of emergency funding for charities.

Making Tax Digital for Corporation Tax

HMRC are seeking views from charity sector on Making Tax Digital for Corporation Tax, which the Charity Tax Group are opposing and have written about here. The proposal relates to making it compulsory for all charities to submit detailed Corporation Tax returns from some time in 2023. Submission of a Corporation Tax Return requires much more knowledge of the intricacies of the tax system and a sophisticated piece of software to turn existing records into a tagged system. John M de C Hoare, DSC Company Secretary, said this about the proposed change: ‘All this is in my opinion unnecessary expense and upgrading of expertise for charities from which absolutely no gain will be made by HMRC as little or no tax will be generated.’ The government consultation closes on the 5 March, the link for which is here.

Open letter to tackle discrimination in charities

Following the leaking of NCVO’s EDI report, more than two dozen charity sector leaders from minoritised communities have signed an open letter calling for charities to hold themselves accountable for tackling discrimination by publishing three-year EDI targets. You can read the full letter here.

Hopefully yesterday’s announcement brought glimmers of light. I’m most looking forward to July, when fingers crossed, I’ll be able to dance to some of my favourite music with all my friends! What about you?