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Posted on the 1st May 2020
Written by Patrice

Charities Minister urged to rethink furlough

Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society yesterday responded to questions from peers surrounding support for charities and allowing fuloughed charity employees to volunteer for their organisation. We’ve emailed Lady Barran a briefing paper requesting her support in asking the Government to urgently reconsider their position. Read the email below and download our briefing paper and send to your MP.

 

Dear Lady Barran,

 

I am writing to you on behalf of 100 small charities who have signed an open letter dated 28ย March this year asking the Chancellor to allow furloughed employees of registered charities to continue volunteering (subject to conditions) for their organisation. Our recently launched petition on .gov is now the second highest charity petition and gaining traction.

 

Thank you, but we need more, now

We welcome the hard work of Ministers and the Government in seeking to provide support to the sector alongside the significant challenges implementing stimulus packages at pace. We recognise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is intended to protect against redundancies and that it is critical to protect the scheme from abuse, however, charities across the UK urgently need the Government to allow their staff to continue being productive, delivering services where demand has soared, income depleted and they face an uncertain future. We risk not merely a temporary interruption to charitable activities at a time when needed most – but also irreparable damage to the sector which will have profound impact on the social fabric of our nation for generations to come.

 

Allowing volunteering whilst maintaining integrity and employee protection

In the attached briefing paper we articulate the rationale for immediate clarification of the CJRS allowing employees of registered charities to volunteer for their organisation subject to eligibility and employee protections. We provide a route to safeguard against abuse whilst offering Government a no-cost mechanism securing the future of many small charities like ours. Inertia or failure to accommodate this technical adjustment is likely to result in thousands of otherwise viable, effective charities collapsing – creating tens of thousands of redundancies and untold socioeconomic cost.

Helping us navigate the issue

Respectfully, I ask for your urgent consideration of the paper and support in making the appropriate representations to colleagues at DCMS and Treasury. I am confident that over time Government can find a route to allow charities to continue working for good โ€“ but for many of us it will simply be too late.

 

Yours with hope

 

Ed

Ed Cervantes-Watson

CEO, FIRST UK

 

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