A series of recommendations have been made which aim to support the voluntary sector to help the UK recover from Covid-19
A new £500m fund should be created to help the voluntary sector recover from Covid-19, a Westminster report has recommended.
Danny Kruger, the Conservative MP for Devizes, has delivered a review into how the sector can best support the UK recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The report – instructed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson – makes a series of recommendations, including a £500 million fund to support the sector and the establishment of a £2 billion endowment fund to support disadvantaged communities.
The Community Recovery Fund would be financed through the defunct National Fund, a charity established in 1928 with £500,000 and the aim of paying off the national debt.
Its funds have since grown to £500 million but, with the national debt approaching £2 trillion, it is unlikely to ever achieve its original goal.
The report also proposes the release of a further £2 billion from dormant insurance accounts to support the creation of a new endowment, dubbed the Levelling Up Communities (LUC) Fund.
The LUC Fund should be directed to long-term, transformational projects in local communities and its distribution strategy should be set by parliament
In the report, Kruger stresses the importance of taking action to support embattled charities and social enterprises.
He said: “No charity or social enterprise has a right to survival, and there may be a salutary shake-out as the sector adjusts to the challenges and opportunities of the new era. Nevertheless, we risk losing some brilliant and essential organisations if we do not act deliberately and quickly to create a support structure for local communities.”
Amongst the other recommendations in the report are a Community Power Act to give local people power over the design and delivery of public services. This could be used in healthcare, social care, refugee resettlement and many other policy areas.
Kruger said: “The economic and social model we need for the future has community power, and the civil society that enables it, at its heart. This is the way to level up the country – to make great places ‘from within’ rather than by outside interventions.”
Other proposals include a ‘Volunteer Passport’ system to match the supply and demand for voluntary help and creating a new National Volunteer Reserve to help with future emergencies and ongoing environmental challenges.
The Prime Minister welcomed the report and said it is important that partnerships forged during the pandemic are built upon.
Johnson said: “We have seen tremendous levels of voluntary action by private citizens, and of innovation and partnership between the public, private and social sectors. These are critical elements of the social model we want to see for the recovery, and into the future.”
Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said: “It is important to recognise that organisations needs additional support and we will keep a careful eye on how any proposals being taken forward will affect the voluntary sector in Scotland. In particular, we will continue to make the case that UK-wide funds are distributed fairly and that decisions on how funds are allocated are taken at a devolved level.”
Karl Wilding, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), welcomed the recognition that the sector needs additional support. He said: “The recognition that charities need more financial support is very important and I hope this will be taken seriously by the chancellor as he sets out his winter economy plan and starts to think about the longer-term financial support for the country."
Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, said: “We hope that Mr Kruger’s report will mark the beginnings of a vital dialogue between government, charities, social enterprises and wider civil society. Talk is one thing; we now need the government to start putting in place the infrastructure required, and back that with those desperately needed funds.”