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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity sector hits out at Westminster budget

This news post is 7 months old

Concerns have been raised about the chancellor’s announcement

Voices from across the charity sector in Scotland and the UK have hit out at the UK government’s Autumn Statement announcements on Wednesday. 

Charities had said that the announcement was an opportunity for the chancellor to extend a lifeline to struggling people and communities by addressing chronic underfunding of the charities that support them.

Calls for the Jeremy Hunt MP to address chronic underfunding of public services was overlooked, with the choice to not uplift grants and contracts to cover the true cost of delivering them means some charities will be forced to step away from delivering public services or reduce the services they offer, leaving people without the support they need and deserve.

This has been heavily criticised, with those in Scotland underlining the importance of the sector to the country. 

SCVO chief executive Anna Fowlie said: “I share the disappointment of other voluntary sector bodies that this week’s budget Autumn Statement did not recognise the essential services and support of voluntary organisations both in Scotland and across the UK.

“Our sector is a major employer, a partner in delivering public services, and a vital contributor to society and the economy.

“The last few years have been a period of significant change and upheaval for Scottish voluntary organisations, their staff and volunteers, and the people and communities they work with. Rising inflation and the resulting cost of living crisis and running costs crisis has strained sector finances and increased demand for the support and services many organisations provide, as demonstrated in our Third Sector Tracker.

"This crisis is not over. We welcome the increase in the National Living Wage which will offer some support to the lowest paid, but to meet the rising cost of living this needed to go further, lifting both the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage to at least Real Living Wage.

"Our sector is central to building a stronger economy and offers specialist support to those furthest from the labour market and should be included in these plans.

"To protect our sector’s essential contributions for the future, underfunding and a lack of inflation-based uplifts in grants and contracts needed to be addressed in this statement. As people and communities struggle through the largest reduction in household incomes since records began in the 1950s, our support will be needed more than ever."

In a statement, NCVO - the umbrella body for England and Wales - also shared its disappointment. It wrote: “Despite the backing of more than 1,400 charities, crucial increases to funding for public services were overlooked in the chancellor's Autumn Statement. We’ve been calling for the issue of chronic underfunding to be addressed, but today this has been ignored.

“Without inflationary increases to the value of grants and contracts, there will be a very real impact on services. Without adequate funding to meet the true cost of delivery, some charities will be forced to close or reduce the services they offer, leaving people at risk. 

“This short-term decision making will cost the taxpayer more in the long-term. While we’re disappointed today, we will continue to call for changes to public service funding needed to secure services for the future and make sure people can still access vital support.”