Government and the Voluntary Sector, Management & leadership, Law

Civil society urges Chancellor to urgently make job scheme fit for purpose

A coalition of civil society leaders has written to Rishi Sunak to urge him to develop a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CRJS) fit for purpose for social change organisations.

Led by Charity Finance Group (CFG) and backed by 31 other organisations, including DSC, the letter calls on the Chancellor to work closely with them to ensure that vital work to serve communities can continue unhindered and millions of citizens who depend on the sector are not abandoned during their time of greatest need.

Pointing out the urgent need for a tailored plan, the coalition explains:

‘The CRJS was an exceptionally generous scheme which was welcomed by the sector and which charities and social enterprises have availed themselves of during its first phase.

‘However, as a scheme designed predominantly with private enterprise in mind, it had the perverse effect of incentivising mothballing of provision and not mobilisation.’

The coalition, which represents thousands of charities and social enterprises in the UK, highlights they now face a ‘critical dilemma’: Access the government’s job retention scheme to save on salary costs (and thereby close or reduce vital services) or risk financial collapse.

‘History tells us that it will continue to be the latter choice they exercise’, the signatories state.

The coalition goes on to ask government for a time-limited scheme that enables organisations to furlough staff and allow them to volunteer their time and skills back to their not-for-profit, public benefit employer. According to recent joint research by CFG, one third of charities have already announced redundancies in service delivery roles.

The letter concludes: ‘It is counterproductive to be paying for a charity or social enterprise employee to stop working when our citizens so desperately need helplines, advice, support and guidance; whether on mental health, unemployment, homelessness or loneliness and isolation.’

Read the letter.

Originally published on CFG website.