First allocation of £750 million support for frontline charities announced

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Communities Secretary announces £76 million extra funding to support survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and vulnerable children and their families and victims of modern slavery.

  • More than £76 million extra funding to support most vulnerable in society during pandemic

  • Funding for charities to support survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, vulnerable children and their families and victims of modern slavery

  • Domestic abuse survivors to automatically qualify for priority need under council duty to relieve homelessness

This funding is coming from the £750 million package of support for charities announced by the Chancellor last month, to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has led the allocation of funding to support charities providing key services to help vulnerable people during the crisis. Further announcements on allocations will be made soon. 

Today’s funding update includes:

Vulnerable children: A total of £34.15 million will support work to safeguard vulnerable children including children with disabilities, those who are critically ill, care leavers and children in the early years. Funding will also allow charities to offer support services in new ways, using remote working and technology solutions, for example, to help tackle criminal threats and mitigate the risks to vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic

Domestic abuse survivors: The announcement includes £28 million to help survivors of domestic abuse and their children by providing more safe spaces, accommodation and access to support services during the coronavirus outbreak.  

Survivors of sexual violence: £10 million has been announced to support victims of sexual violence access advice and support, through the funding of technology to enable charities to offer services remotely. A further £3 million per annum until 2022 will also be invested in the recruitment of more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors across the country. 

Survivors of modern slavery: £ 1.73 million will provide emergency support to modern slavery charities who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. This funding will go towards individuals supported through the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract and will allow victims to stay in government-funded safe accommodation for the next three months, access financial assistance, access support services remotely, and ensure we can manage additional demand on the services during this period.

Total package:  

The funding is made up as follows:   

  • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will be providing £10m for safe accommodation services.   This funding applies to England. The announcement regarding automatic priority consideration for housing applies to England.

  • The Department for Education will provide £26.4 million to support vulnerable children, including support for families of disabled children and working to safeguard vulnerable children including care leavers and children in the early years. This funding applies to England, except for funding for Childline, which will apply to the UK.

  • The Ministry of Justice will provide £25 million to help victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence in the community access support services during the coronavirus outbreak, and a further £3m per annum investment in Independent Sexual Violence Advisers until 2022. This funding applies to England and Wales.

  • The Home Office will be providing £3.8 million for community-based domestic abuse services and modern slavery services, and for added support for modern slavery charities who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The Home Office will be providing £7.8 million in emergency support for charities helping vulnerable children who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.  This includes children at risk of sexual abuse and criminal exploitation. This funding applies to England and Wales

Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

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A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke spoke to local authorities in England yesterday to set out that up to £617 million would be made available.

This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), so up to £617 million. We will confirm the exact amount for each local authority next week.

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.

Further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.

As of 27 April, over £7.5 billion has been paid out to over 614,000 business properties via the SBGF and RHLGF schemes. This is over 61% of the grant funding allocated to local authorities.

GM reveals plans to secure skills and employment training during COVID-19 crisis


AMBITIOUS plans designed to maintain adult education, skills and employment programmes worth £200m across Greater Manchester during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak have been approved. Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has confirmed the arrangements to provide financial certainty for local authorities, colleges, training providers and employment support partners. Those organisations can now continue to deliver vital skills and employment programmes to residents, supporting community resilience across Greater Manchester’s 10 districts.

The agreement covers almost 100 contracts and funding agreements, collectively worth over £200 million in education, training and employment support. Programmes range from devolved activity, such as the Adult Education Budget (AEB) and GM Working Well, to smaller-scale activity and pilots programmes funded entirely or in part by the GMCA.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “These are unprecedented times, but so much important work is carrying on to help communities across Greater Manchester cope with this outbreak and prepare for the future. By joining up our approach to skills, employment and wellbeing, we can provide financial security to our colleges and providers and help them to address the challenges we’re facing. This is going to be vital to supporting our most vulnerable residents, now and in the weeks and months to come.” Funding for these projects comes from a range of sources, including devolved funding, government grants or budget allocations, and European Social Funds (ESF) or associated match funding through the GMCA as an ESF co-financing organisation.

Greater Manchester’s devolved Adult Education Budget (AEB), worth £92 million per year, provides essential education and skills provision for over 70,000 residents each year.

The GMCA will pay 100% of agreed AEB allocations for grant-funded providers. Additionally, it will make payments to providers with procured AEB contracts until the end of June in the first instance, but with an intention to provide a level of financial certainty for the remainder of this academic year subject to any further Government guidance. The move will enable providers and their supply chains to adapt to the current landscape and deliver crucial skills training to Greater Manchester residents. Providers have also been given extra flexibility to respond to new skills demands arising from the pandemic, as people look to retrain or upskill in new areas.

Cllr Sean Fielding, GMCA Lead for Education, Skills, Work and Apprenticeships, said: “I am very pleased that an approach to supporting our work and skills providers in terms of financial stability has been agreed.” “As always, our city-region is pulling together in difficult times. Our colleges, training providers, employment support partners and local authorities have responded quickly to the unfolding situation and many have already done an incredible job of adapting their ways of working to maintain services and support the most vulnerable, and we can’t thank them enough for that commitment.” Greater Manchester’s Working Well (Work and Health) Programme has also been provided with additional financial stability so it can keep supporting long-term unemployed residents during the pandemic. The programme is commissioned by GMCA and aims to support people, many with long-standing physical or mental health conditions and/or disabilities, into sustainable employment. The ongoing programme has already supported 22,000 Greater Manchester residents since its inception in 2014.

After social distancing measures were introduced, the programme swiftly moved to adapt its delivery, and the team have embraced digital technology to continue courses. Virtual classrooms have been set up and programme workers have moved to support participants via phone call, text, social media and through their website at In the first two weeks of the team working from home, 20,000 telephone calls took place with the main purpose of supporting the welfare of the participants. Joanne Roney OBE, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, said: “As ever, the efforts of the Working Well work and health programme team have proved an invaluable of our city-region’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Their close work with our local authorities and public services has helped the wider Greater Manchester approach remain connected and responsive during this challenging time.” The funding arrangements agreed by the GMCA will be in place for 12 months, and the situation will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.

European Social Fund 
This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.

Original article published at

Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities


Charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today.

  • £750 million pot for frontline charities across the UK – including hospices and those supporting domestic abuse victims
  • £360 million direct from government departments and £370 million for smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund
  • government will match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser later this month – pledging a minimum of £20 million

Charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today (Wednesday 8 April).

Tens of thousands of charities providing vital services will benefit from direct cash grants to ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus as well as continuing their day-to-day activities supporting those in need.

As part of a UK-wide package of support, £360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.

As well as this, £370 million for small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England, will support those organisations at the heart of local communities which are making a big difference during the outbreak, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.

The Chancellor also announced the Government will match fund whatever the public decides to donate to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

Today’s announcement builds on previous announcements by the Chancellor to support charities and businesses, including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible with the Government paying 80% of their wages.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

Our charities are playing a crucial role in the national fight against coronavirus, supporting those who are most in need.

It’s right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750 million package of extra funding.

This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people up and down the country rely on.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

Our brilliant charities are already playing a crucial role in our national effort to fight coronavirus – backed up by an army of volunteers. We’re determined to support them and match the generosity being shown by the British people. This package will make sure those on the front line are able to reach people who need help most, support communities and take pressure off our NHS.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock said:

The entire charity sector has stepped up as part of our national effort to tackle coronavirus – from helping our NHS heroes to ensuring the most vulnerable among us are cared for properly.

Hospices have suffered a huge challenge to their funding due to the outbreak of coronavirus but at the same time continued to play a vital role in delivering compassionate, quality end-of-life care for many people. I am delighted that this cash boost will provide further financial stability and support them to increase capacity of NHS Services and provide stability as we manage our response to coronavirus.

It’s vitally important we all continue to support our fantastic and hardworking hospices and their staff during this unprecedented time, and the whole country is grateful for the incredible work they do.

Charities providing vital services and helping vulnerable people through the current crisis will benefit from the £360 million allocated by government departments. These will include:

  • hospices to help increase capacity and give stability to the sector
  • St Johns Ambulance to support the NHS
  • victims charities, including domestic abuse, to help with potential increase in demand for charities providing these services
  • vulnerable children charities, so they can continue delivering services on behalf of local authorities
  • Citizens Advice to increase the number of staff providing advice during this difficult time

Departments will now work at pace to identify priority recipients, with the aim for charities to receive money in the coming weeks. The application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within a similar period of time.

Where charitable services are devolved the UK Government has applied the Barnett formula in the normal way. The devolved administrations are therefore being funded to provide a similar level of support to charities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

IES Report: Getting Back to Work


Today the Institute of Employment Studies launched a new report ‘ Getting Back to Work: Dealing with the labour market impacts of the Covid-19 recession’. The full report can be found here. 

The Covid-19 crisis has led to an economic shock that is unprecedented in its size and speed. This report sets out IES’s assessment of the economic challenges that we will face from this crisis, and evidence-based proposals for our labour market response.

The labour market impacts of the crisis

We expect that employment has already fallen (over the first month of the crisis) by around 1.5 to 2 million, equivalent to 5% of all of those in work. This would be double the fall in employment in the last recession (740 thousand) and five times larger than the previous largest quarterly fall at any point since 1971.

We expect that unemployment has already risen to at least 2.5 million, or from 3.9% to around 7.5% of the workforce. This will be a far quicker rise than in any of our last three recessions, and would put the unemployment rate slightly higher already than the highest point it reached in the last recession.

There is clear evidence that prolonged spells of unemployment, particularly while young, can cause long-lasting ‘scars’ on an individual’s future earnings, employment prospects and health and wellbeing. However the evidence also shows that this is not inevitable: reducing the number of unemployment spells also reduces the harm caused.

Early analysis suggests that groups at particular risk in this recession are likely to be young people and the lowest paid, with women more adversely affected than men. Older people are also likely to be particularly at risk, and we would anticipate a stronger sectoral bias in the recession than in the last – with retail and hospitality appearing to be particularly vulnerable.

What is less clear at this point is whether unemployment will continue to rise steeply in the coming months, and how fast the recovery will be. If we can leave the ‘lockdown’ smoothly by late spring, then there seems a reasonable chance that unemployment will peak quite quickly, and more or less where it reached after the 2008/9 recession. However if the lockdown continues into the summer, then it is plausible that viable businesses will start to run out of cash reserves and loan options and we will see a ‘second wave’ of large scale job losses.

Overall, we think that it is highly unlikely that we will see a steep recovery in employment or unemployment in the near future, and we expect that it will take years rather than months for the labour market to fully recover. 

Getting the country back to work

This report proposes five priorities for action. At their heart would be a new Back to Work campaign, underpinned by local Back to Work Partnerships and a Back to Work Service for the long-term unemployed.  We propose:

1. Investment in new active labour programmes for those out of work

2. Refocusing skills and training to support the recovery

3. An integrated and coherent offer for young people

4. An orderly withdrawal from the Job Retention Scheme

5. A new, partnership-based, ‘Back to Work’ campaign

In order to be ready to act in the months ahead, we need to act now. However the sheer scale of the challenge means that government will not be able to do this by itself.

So we recommend that government brings together a ‘Cobra’ for jobs – to work together on designing, co-ordinating and mobilising this response, and convening a wide range of partners including government Departments and agencies, local government, sector bodies, trusts and foundations and key stakeholders.

The proposals in this report will help to ensure that as the economy recovers we can keep people attached to work, help them find better work, and minimise the ‘scars’ from being out of work. With a cost of around £4.7 billion over the next three years, the evidence from previous programmes tells us that this investment would more than pay for itself in the future; while the evidence from previous recessions tells us that the costs of inaction would be far higher.

Further information:

The Institute of Employment Studies (IES) is a leading independent centre for research and evidence-based consultancy. We provide insights on employment and human resource management topics to help improve policy and practice.

Authors: Tony Wilson, James Cockett, Dafni Papoutsaki and Helena Takala

Download the full report (54 pages) here. 

Resolution Foundation recommendations on Protecting firms and families from the economic impact of coronavirus


Doing what it takes
Protecting firms and families from the economic impact of coronavirus
Recommendations from Resolution Foundation

The coronavirus health crisis is now a full-blown economic crisis, and one that may last for much more than a few months. Firms will go bust and unemployment will rise. The majority of this economic damage will be driven not by the direct impact of coronavirus itself, but by the necessary measures – such as social distancing – that we put in place to respond to it.

Lower earners are likely to be hit most swiftly, in stark contrast to the 2008 financial crisis. Sectors already heavily affected have typical weekly pay of £320, compared to £455 for the economy as a whole. Less than one-in-ten of those in the bottom half of earners say they can work from home, making it much harder for them to protect their incomes in the face of social distancing measures. Those in the most at-risk sectors and occupations also have less to fall back on, being around 25 per cent more likely than average to live in families with no savings at all.

This is the backdrop to an urgent need for the Government to step up its economic response. In recent days, the Chancellor has set out additional measures to those announced in the Budget, with a continued focus on subsidised loans and direct cash payments to firms. However, much bolder steps to support family incomes are now needed, as the Chancellor himself has set out. That is crucial not only to avoid hardship, but to reduce the depth of the crisis by reassuring families that they will not suffer deep and long-lasting hits to their income.

We propose a broad and radical approach in three areas: relatively simple extensions of sick pay itself, much bolder moves to aid the retention of workers by struggling firms, and a stronger social security safety net. This three-part package would amount to a bold response to a very serious economic crisis. It would target the core problems that the nature of this shock is posing to individual firms, families and the economy as a whole. And crucially, it rests on measures that are not always easy but which can actually be taken, and taken swiftly. Now is the time to act.


  • On Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), the Government should extend it to the 2 million employees who earn less than £118 per week (£120 from April) and are ineligible. This would cost around £200 million. The Government could go further and make SSP more generous, but only if it met the costs of that increase, for small and medium-sized firms at least. Increasing SSP from £95.85 to £160 per week would ensure it covered half the earnings of employees that rely on it, up from the current third, and cost a further £800 million for small and medium-sized firms.
  • The Government should introduce a new Statutory Retention Pay (SRP) scheme in which people who don’t have work to do stay formally employed by their firm, but with a significant amount of their pay covered by the state. Firms would continue to pay workers at least two-thirds of their previous wages via their payroll, with the state providing a rebate for those payments at a cost of £4 billion for an initial six months if 500,000 employees were involved, and £8 billion if a million were. A simpler flat-rate payment of £151 per week would cost £3.6 billion if 1 million workers were involved.
  • To protect families affected from hardship, and strengthen the automatic stabilisers that support demand in the economy, the Government also needs to strengthen the social safety net. The main adult rate of out-of-work support in Universal Credit (UC) and other benefits should rise by one-third, to £100 per week, with equivalent increases in young-adult and couple rates. This would cost £10 billion over a year. The Government could go further and target a 10 per cent uprating of other elements of the means-tested benefit system (UC and tax credits), which would bring the total cost to £13 billion.


Healthy Ageing Blog: How we can all keep active at home during the coronavirus crisis


With the threat of COVID-19 taking hold, more people will be spending a considerable amount of time in self-isolation, but there are ways people of all ages and ability can keep active through a variety of exercises.

Centre for Ageing Betters Senior Programme Manager for Healthy Ageing, Jess Kuehne, outlines the exercises you can do at home, depending on ability, during a time of self-isolation. 

As the threat of COVID-19 keeps growing, the likelihood of the older people being asked to self-isolate for long periods of time increases. Regardless of age, many of us will be spending more time at home due to self-isolation. This poses the challenge of how to stay active, which is incredibly important for maintaining physical as well as mental health.

When it comes to physical activity, we know that our balance and muscle strength is crucial for allowing us to remain healthy and independent, and key to avoiding at-home injuries and falls. The UK chief medical officer’s guidelines recommend twice weekly strength and balance training for adults of all ages.  

Yet if we are all about to spend significantly more time indoors and being highly inactive for long periods of time, we run the risk of losing physical capability, known as ‘deconditioning’. A similar phenomenon is common when spending long periods of time in hospital. This is why being active while in isolation will help you maintain your ability to do everyday activities and reduce your risk of losing physical capabilities.

Fortunately, there are many ways we can all keep up our strength and balance exercises while remaining indoors, without the need for exercise equipment or even much space. Simple exercises include sit to stand, wall press-ups, side-steps, heel raises and marching.  

The NHS recommends the following exercises:

  1. Mini-squats

Rest your hands on the back of the chair for stability and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend your knees as far as is comfortable, keeping them facing forwards. Aim to get them over your big toe. Keep your back straight at all times. Gently come up to standing, squeezing your buttocks as you do so. Repeat 5 times. 

  1. Wall press-up 

Stand an arm’s length from the wall. Place your hands flat against the wall at chest level, with your fingers pointing upwards. With your back straight, slowly bend your arms, keeping your elbows by your side. Aim to close the gap between you and the wall as much as you can. Slowly return to the start. Attempt 3 sets of 5 to 10 repetitions. 

  1. Bicep curls

Hold a pair of light weights (filled water bottles will do, or tins of beans) and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your arms by your side, slowly bend them until the weight in your hand reaches your shoulder. Slowly lower again. This can also be carried out while sitting. Attempt 3 sets of 5 curls with each arm. 

  1. One-leg stand 

Start by standing facing the wall, with arms outstretched and your fingertips touching the wall. Lift your left leg, keep your hips level and keep a slight bend in the opposite leg. Gently place your foot back on the floor. Hold the lift for 5 to 10 seconds and perform 3 on each side. 

  1. Heel-to-toe walk 

Standing upright, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe. Then do the same with your left heel. Make sure you keep looking forward at all times. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability. Try to perform at least 5 steps. As you progress, move away from the wall. 

  1. Step-up

Use a step, preferably with a railing or near a wall, to use as support. Step up with your right leg. Bring your left leg up to join it. Step down again and return to the start position. The key for building balance is to step up and down slowly and in a controlled manner. Perform up to 5 steps with each leg. 

  1. Hip marching 

Sit upright and do not lean on the back of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair. Lift your left leg with your knee bent as far as is comfortable. Place your foot down with control. Repeat with the opposite leg. Do 5 lifts with each leg. 

  1. Sit-to-stand

Sit on the edge of the chair, feet hip-width apart. Lean slightly forwards. Stand up slowly using your legs, not arms. Keep looking forward and do not look down. Stand upright and then slowly sit down, bottom-first. Aim for 5 repetitions – the slower, the better. 

  1. Leg extension 

Rest your hands on the back of a chair for stability. Standing upright, raise your left leg backwards, keeping it straight. Avoid arching your back as you take your leg back. You should feel the effort in the back of your thigh and bottom. Repeat with the right leg. Hold the lift for up to 5 seconds and repeat 5 times with each leg. 

  1. Arm raises

Sit upright with your arms by your sides. With palms forwards, raise both arms out and to the side, and up as far as is comfortable. Return to the starting position. Keep your shoulders down and arms straight throughout. Breathe out as you raise your arms and breathe in as you lower them. Repeat 5 times. 

For the full NHS guidance on exercise and physical activity guidelines, you can visit: