Christmas is just 10 days away, and so this will be our last policy update for 2020.
In this weeks’ news:
Downing Street confirms that leaving the EU on ‘Australian terms’ as planned on January 1st will mean a no-deal Brexit
Much of Australia’s trade with Europe is on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms, because there is no comprehensive free trade agreement between the country and the EU. Instead, trade is subject to harsh tariffs and quotas. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that an Australian deal is ‘not one that Britain would want’‘ on Question Time this past week, adding that there are ‘some very large barriers to Australian trade with Europe’. Downing Street has also accepted the claims made by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) that food prices will rise, with Britain facing ‘over £3bn in food tariffs’. Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of BRC, stressed: “There is no need to buy more food than usual as the main impact will be on imported produce, such as fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long periods.”
From noon on the 12th January, the £20 million Dormant Accounts Fund will open for applications in Northern Ireland
The fund will utilise monies from dormant bank accounts that have been inactive for 15 or more years, and where substantial attempts to contact the account holder have been made. Charities will be able to apply for multi-year grants of up to £100,000 to ‘allow a diverse range of organisations to plan for a more secure future’. For more information, visit the National Lottery Community Fund’s website.
Five weeks have passed since Charity Finance Group wrote an open letter to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on adapting the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to better fit the model of charitable organisations. Sunak has just this week responded, asserting that restrictions preventing furloughed staff from volunteering for their own employer are in place to protect employees. He wrote: “If we allowed workers to volunteer for their employer, the employer could ask them to effectively work full-time whilst paying them 80% of the wages.” CFG again urges the government to support non-profits to #MobilisenotMothball – with Chief Executive, Caron Bradshaw, adding that revisions must be made to ensure that charities ‘are here for future winters to come’.
The Lloyds Band Foundation for England and Wales (LBFEW) tells small charities to expect a rise in demand for services as lockdown measures ease across the country
In the Small Charities Responding to Covid-19: Winter Update published this week, LBFEW predicts that the effects of increased poverty – and declining physical and mental health as a result of vital services being forced to operate remotely – will become apparent as the country attempts to get back to business as usual. One homelessness charity featured in the report described itself as ‘bracing for a tsunami of need’ once the government lifts suspensions on evictions. The report also found that almost eight in every ten charities had lost funding since the beginning of the pandemic. Small charities are not only oversubscribed and overwhelmed, but largely underfunded.
Christmas will be different for us all this year, but I hope you have a lovely time celebrating. There are (currently) no restrictions on binge-watching Christmas films in your pyjamas with a tin of Quality Street to hand, so that’s where you’ll find me!