Here’s this week’s policy news:
5 takeaways from the Spending Review by Jay Kennedy
Jay Kennedy, DSC’s Director of Research and Policy, created a summary of the Chancellor’s Spending Review highlighting some key developments relating specifically to charities. Highlights from the review include the launch of a £4 billion ‘Levelling Up Fund’, which will ‘invest in local infrastructure that has a viable impact on people and their communities and support economic recovery’. Sunak also gave greater insight into how the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund – designed to fill gaps caused by the loss of EU funds – would work in practice. The government plans to match ‘receipts from EU structural funds, on average reaching around £1.5 billion per year’ whilst also providing new forms of funding for pilot programmes/approaches supporting communities across the UK. In less positive news, spending on international aid is set to be temporarily reduced by 0.2%. Still, the UK remains in its position as the world’s second biggest aid donor – but this is the second time cuts to the aid budget have been made this year. In June, research warned that 45% of international development charities were forecast to collapse within the next year. Cuts to spending and widespread ineligibility for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (due to most aid organisations operating abroad) were cited as reasons for this trend. There is a consensus in the sector that this is potentially the worst time for cutbacks, and if anything, spending should be increased. The Archbishop of Canterbury echoed the concerns of non-profits in a conversation with The Observer last week. He said: “A global recovery from the economic consequences of the pandemic requires a global response. Keeping our aid commitment is a strong signal that the UK is a reliable partner for long-term economic, social, environmental and educational advancement across the globe.”
Around three-quarters of Britons are planning to make charitable donations this Christmas, according to a research by Ecclesiastical
A massive 84% of respondents felt that ‘charitable giving was more important at this time than in previous years’, with causes such as animals and wildlife, health and the community being amongst the most popular. The survey was designed to complement Ecclesiastical’s 12 Days of Giving campaign, which is awarding £1,000 to 10 charities every weekday from the 7th until the 22nd of December. A total of 120 charities – nominated by the public – will receive a share of £120,000. Nominations are still open, and you can vote for your favourite charity here.
Since 2015, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has invested funds generated from VAT on women’s sanitary products into projects seeking to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. The fund has released £77 million in grants to date. This particular round will go towards funding domestic abuse services and expanding rape crisis services, amongst other causes.
AVECO’s article outlines what qualities it expects to see in the next chair of the Charity Commission
In 2018, the DCMS Select Committee voiced concerns about Baroness Stowell’s political impartially and knowledge about charities – and this piece takes a similar tone. In an ideal world, Stowell’s successor should not only speak publicly about political independence, but should have no identifiable ties with political parties or figures. They should seek challenge ‘false or misleading’ narratives about charities, such as the idea that charities should not have paid staff – which has been circulated in past Charity Commission meetings. The piece also advocates for someone who does not necessarily have an extensive background in the sector, but understands that charities are highly diverse – in the ways in which they are constituted and run. Ultimately, AVECO hopes the new chair pushes for greater transparency, accountability, and is committed to rebuilding trust between the sector and its regulator.