Government support for charities in light of COVID-19 pandemic

20 March 2020

UK charity & voluntary sector – which employs around 870,000 people and contributes £17.1bn to the UK economy according to NCVO data* – must get more Government support says BDO

With the UK adopting more stringent measures to protect its population from Co-Vid 19, the Government must urgently consider immediate cash funding for the UK’s charity sector which will face unprecedented difficulty in the weeks ahead, accountancy and advisory firm, BDO LLP said today.

The warning comes as the Government announced more financial measures this week to help the economy during the coronavirus outbreak, however, only those charities where more than 50% of their income is from trading will have access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans – meaning the vast majority will not be able to access additional funds.

The charity and voluntary sector, delivers a range of vital services for the UK and worldwide economy - hospices, refuges, youth clubs, medical research, emergency services, education, animal welfare, mental health support, arts, theatres, museum and galleries. Many are facing a desperate cash crunch as donations fall, fundraising events are cancelled, over 2,000 charity shops are forced to close, and the UK population cuts down its social activity - including volunteering. The value of charity volunteering is estimated at £24bn and, while younger people are volunteering more, our older generation can’t due to the government’s self-isolation advice, meaning the sector will be hard hit by the pandemic.

Jill Halford, Partner and Head of Charities at BDO said:

“Charities are facing huge increases in demand for services with significant uncertainty around funding. Very few charities have cash reserves available to get through a likely two to three month (or more) downturn in donations, so the majority will struggle severely unless drastic action is taken. The sector cannot deliver the services and support it needs to during this time without immediate access to cash so we would encourage the government to consider extending access to Business Interruption Loans emergency funding to all charities”.


Note to editors


Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP provides integrated advice and solutions to help businesses navigate a changing world.

Our clients are Britain’s economic engine – ambitious, entrepreneurially-spirited and high-growth businesses that fuel the economy. 

We share our clients’ ambitions and their entrepreneurial mind-set. We have the right combination of global reach, integrity and expertise to help them succeed. 


BDO LLP operates in 17 locations across the UK, employing nearly 5,500 people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory services. BDO LLP is the UK member firm of the BDO international network.

BDO’s global network

The BDO global network provides business advisory services in 167 countries, with 88,000 people working out of 1,800 offices worldwide. It has revenues of $9.6bn. 


Elliott Grady
Head of External Communications
[email protected]
07812 666010

Press office:
020 7893 3000
[email protected]