Daniel Ferrell-Schweppenstedde

Former Policy and Public Affairs Manager

Charities Aid Foundation

What the Spending Round means for charities

5 September 2019

Yesterday’s Government Spending Round 2019 might have been overshadowed by Parliamentary battles over Europe but what did Chancellor Sajid Javid have to offer charities?


The Government’s anticipated three-year Spending Review was fast-tracked to a one year spending settlement with a full Review to be conducted in 2020.

Vision of the budget

The Chancellor talked about his desire to build a safer Britain, developing a stronger and fairer economy in which success is not determined by personal background, as well as Britain’s advantage in being a multi-ethnic democracy.

chancellor sajid javid 500
Chancellor Sajid Javid

Announcements fell into the expected categories of economy and infrastructure, health, education and police while keeping public finances under control. Government was also committed to keeping defence and overseas aid spending to at least 2% and 0.7% of national income respectively. The announcements meant a real increase in day-to-day spending to £13.8bn, or 4.1% in real terms, resulting in the fastest increase in day-to-day spending for 15 years. Furthermore, budgets of unprotected departments will not be cut next year and will be kept at least in line with inflation.

The Chancellor pledged an extra £2.1 billion for Brexit preparations, in particular for the UK Border Force and infrastructure, taking the total spent since the referendum to more than £8 billion. There was no announcement around the UK Shared Prosperity fund (the successor fund for EU structural funding).

What’s in it for the sector?

From a charity point of view it was good news to see an increase in Charity Commission funding from £24.9m to £27.3m. Strong and effective governance is essential to ensure the charity sector remains robust and accountable, and the Commission needs resources to do its work.

However, while the Chancellor did take note of the wider Brexit uncertainty, the charity sector was not mentioned in the context of spending announcements. A request by some sector bodies for contingency funds to mitigate the impact of a no-deal Brexit on charities was not mentioned by the Chancellor.

DCMS’s budget remained protected which bodes well for the Office for Civil Society. There were no details of support for specific work to put last year’s Civil Society Strategy into action.

A coalition of 18 charities called for a doubling of public spending on climate and nature to at least £42bn a year to tackle climate change. While this was not included in the Chancellor’s review, he did state that £250m will be provided to the international climate and environment funds, including the Green Climate Fund.

Elsewhere there were several other announcements that will be of interest to charities in relevant areas:

  • Another £54m of new funding to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, taking it to £422m.
  • A 4.1% increase in real terms of DCMS’s resource budget in line with inflation and providing £46 million for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2020 (for which £500m was announced).
  • The announcement of a DCMS youth investment fund for youth centres and programmes.
  • £30m will be provided to safeguard children from sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • £7m for the Normandy Memorial Trust to finish construction of a British memorial.
  • £66m in early years spending to increase the hourly rate paid at maintained nursery schools and other childcare providers who deliver on the government’s free childcare offers.
  • £10m for Integration Areas Programmes including language skills.
  • Funding for compensation for victims of the Windrush scandal.
  • Councils will get another £1.5bn for social care spending, on top of the existing £2.5bn of social care grants.
  • Northern Ireland will get another £400m, helping also with improving hospice care.
  • DFID’s budget will get a 1.5% increase in real terms from 2019-20 to 2020-21, and the government reaffirmed its legal commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on ODA in 2020.
  • Another £170m in humanitarian aid and support for refugees will go to Yemen and Syria and the region, including Jordan and Lebanon.