It will come as no surprise that this round-up focuses on the coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting charities. We have the latest news on how charities can help and be helped in these tough times.

Furloughing

It’s a word that many of us had never heard of until last week: what exactly is ‘furloughing’?

In a nutshell, furloughing is where employees technically retain their jobs but cease to undertake work for their employers for a period of time. Employers will be able to reclaim 80% (up to a monthly cap of £2,500) of their employee’s wages from HMRC through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The plan is that this will be a temporary arrangement to help organisations survive the coronavirus crisis so that employees will, in the future, be able to return to their jobs. There is still quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding the scheme, especially around how employers can select employees in a non-discriminatory way.

For more information, click here for our employment e-briefing.

More funding to support charities

With charity shops closed and fundraising events cancelled, many charities are facing financial difficulties and some sectors will be affected more than others. In light of this, various organisations have been announcing measures to help charities weather the storm.

  1. Charities Aid Foundation has created a £5 million emergency fund to support small charities during the COVID-19 crisis. This fund offers one-off grants of up to £10,000. Organisations with up to £1 million per annum turnover can apply.
  2. Funding will also be provided by other organisations, including the National Emergencies Trust and National Lottery Community Funding. Arts Council England has set up a fund worth £160 million to support individuals and organisations that work in and contribute to the arts. £50 million of this figure will be available to organisations that don’t normally receive funding from the Arts Council.
  3. Organisations can now agree a bespoke Time to Pay Arrangement with HMRC that covers income tax, corporation tax, PAYE/NI and VAT. These arrangements usually last six or twelve months, but in the current situation, HMRC may allow longer arrangements if there is a realistic prospect that the debt will eventually be repaid.


Council leaders, trade unions and organisations such as NVCO and the Small Charities Coalition have also been calling on the Government to provide emergency funding for charities.

What can charities do to help?

From signing up to be one of the NHS volunteers to shopping for an elderly neighbour, many of us are wondering how we can help others at the moment – and charities are no exception. The Charity Commission has updated its coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance for the charity sector to include some information about which of their charitable objects charities may be able to rely upon to offer support. See the latest guidance here

Finally, here are some great initiatives that charities have already set up to tackle the pandemic:

  • The creation of Mutual Aid Networks to support people who cannot access resources;
  • Doctors of the World has translated coronavirus advice and guidance into 36 different languages, enabling refugee communities to understand the nation’s response; and
  • UK Just Finance Foundation has put together a signposting page to people with financial difficulties.
For more information

If you would like more details about anything in this round-up, please speak to or email your usual ACS contact or contact us here.