Birmingham MPs come together to pledge support for city’s voluntary sector during Covid-19 crisis

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020

All ten of Birmingham’s MPs have backed BVSC’s call for urgent help from the government for local charities and community groups.

Last week, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) warned that charities across the country are facing ‘imminent collapse’ in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

In a letter to government, signed by partners from across the UK including BVSC, NCVO said: “Charities warned today that without an urgent injection of money many charities of all sizes would start to close their doors as soon as next week.

“With charity shops closed and fundraising events and activity cancelled, reserves depleted and demand for services increasing, charities are having to make immediate decisions about their financial viability.

“Charity sector bodies have made initial estimates that charities will miss out on a minimum of £4.3bn of income over the coming 12 weeks, though the figure could be far higher. Many will also face increased costs as part of their role in tackling the outbreak.”

The situation is no different in Birmingham, with many of the city’s charities already under severe pressure, both financially and in terms of capacity – with many facing a huge surge in demand for services, at the same time as having to operate and adapt to delivering services ‘virtually’.

This is why BVSC’s chief executive Brian Carr has called on Birmingham’s charities, politicians and the general public to put pressure on government to provide an ‘unprecedented fiscal stimulus’ for the sector.

And yesterday (Monday 30 March) all ten of the city’s MPs came together to call on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide the voluntary sector with emergency financial support.

"I'm grateful that Birmingham's MPs all recognise the essential work being done by our local voluntary sector during this time of crisis, and that they understand that charities need urgent financial support if they are to survive under the extreme pressure they are facing.

"Government needs urgently to understand the essential work being carried out by local charities to support people through the coronavirus crisis, and to realise that many are at imminent risk of collapse.

"I thank all ten of Birmingham's MPs for supporting Birmingham's voluntary sector by calling on the Chancellor for emergency financial support."

BVSC are working hard to help local community groups and charities stay resilient and supported throughout the Covid-19 crisis – partnering with Birmingham Live and Heart of England Community Foundation to launch the #BrumKind initiative.

Now, with the backing of local MPs, BVSC will continue to work with partners to pressure government to provide significant and urgent support to our sector.

Specific requests in NCVO’s letter to government include:

* Provide, and work with philanthropic organisations and foundations to provide, immediate operational funding for charities at the frontline of responding to the coronavirus crisis

* Clear information as to how charities can access the 80% subsidy for retained workers

* Confirmation that charitable organisations are eligible for the full range of business interruption measures announced for businesses.

The full list of signatories is Preet Gill, Edgbaston; Tahir Ali, Hall Green; Liam Byrne, Hodge Hill; Shabana Mahmood, Ladywood; Gary Sambrook, Northfield; Khalid Mahmood, Perry Barr; Steve McCabe, Selly Oak; Andrew Mitchell, Sutton Coldfield; Jess Phillips, Yardley.