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Charities likely to reduce services as lockdown bites

16 November 2020

Two thirds of charities say they will have to reduce services in the next three months as a result of lockdown measures, according to a new survey by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

Sixty-six percent (66%) of respondents said they were quite likely or very likely to reduce services as a direct or indirect result of the restrictions.

Previous research by CAF has found that during the lockdown earlier in the year there was a spike in demand for services provided by charities.  In May, a third of those surveyed (35%) reported an increase in demand with six in 10 of those charities saying it had increased by more than a quarter, while one in four of them said demand was 50% higher than before the pandemic started.

A coalition of organisations led by CAF is continuing to call for a temporary increase in Gift Aid to help charities struggling to cope with the devastating effects of Covid-19.  CAF research has found that a quarter of charities fear they will have to close their doors within a year if they do not receive additional support and more than one in 10 (13%) are unlikely to last six months.

The proposed Gift Aid change would mean that a £100 donation from a UK tax payer would increase to £133.33 for the charity once Gift Aid had been claimed.  This compares to £125 as is currently the case.  As a result, the Gift Aid claimed on every eligible donation would increase by one-third, up from the current one-quarter, potentially raising an extra £450m.  The group have called for the increase to be in place for two years.  Similar improvements to Gift Aid were also brought in by the Treasury following the financial crisis in 2008.

National lockdown measures and the tiered restrictions which were in place in previous months mean that vital sources of income for charities, such as charity shops and other planned fundraising activities, have been curtailed resulting in a substantial loss of income.

Daniel Ferrell-Schweppenstedde, Policy Manager at CAF, said:

"We are renewing our call for a temporary increase in Gift Aid as the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic become clearer with each passing week.

"The vital work of charities has never been more needed yet many are in a situation where they may not survive for much longer.

"This proposal has widespread support from hundreds of charities of all sizes, donors, and MPs as we once again appeal to the Government to consider how important these charities are to the millions of people who rely on them in communities across the UK."

Notes to Editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from CAF. The total sample size was 421 charities and fieldwork was undertaken online between the 4th and 9th November 2020 (except those figures cited from CAF’s May research which was conducted online between 21 and 22 May with a sample size of 416 charities). The data is unweighted.

The initial Gift Aid Emergency Relief proposal was made by CAF, IoF, CFG, NCVO and Charity Tax Group with the support of other membership bodies such as Small Charities Coalition, Charity Retail Association and ACEVO. Since then, more than 500 supporters, including household brands such as Age UK, Barnardo's, British Heart Foundation, Breast Cancer UK, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, the NSPCC, and RNIB have joined the growing coalition.

MPs supporting the campaign include Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East; Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham; Neale Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, who has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the proposal.

Over 70,000 charities claimed Gift Aid in 2019 and over 120,000 charities are known to be registered for Gift Aid and the Gift Aid Donations scheme.

Find out more about the campaign here.


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