Yesterday’s Charitable and Voluntary Sector debate in the House of Lords was hugely encouraging for those of us campaigning for increased government support for charities at the moment.
Initiated by Lord Addington, the debate was oversubscribed, with more attendees wanting to speak than could be accommodated, and calls for more help for the sector were powerfully presented by peers from across the political spectrum. The statements and calls for support referenced the whole breadth of our sector, giving a vivid picture of the scale of its impact, and the crucial role we play in supporting the most vulnerable in our society.
Lord Addington opened the debate, making the point that if charities aren’t properly supported now, there will be huge gaps in provision after the crisis, and Baroness Pitkeathley rightly made the point that it’s not about saving charities per se, but protecting the services they provide for everyone. Baroness Barker also called for the existing schemes set up to support business to be expanded so that they can help charities, and for government to work with charities to redesign service delivery after lockdown and invest in charity infrastructure (and namechecked the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign (which got us very excited here at DSC!).
There were a lot of other references to campaign messages from individual and groups of charities, and a lot of mentions of specific challenges being faced by particular charities (along with the predictable digs at CEO pay and reserves), as well as our own research on the impact the pandemic is having on charities which was referenced by Baroness Cox.