Community Development: Coronavirus

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered at on 4 May 2020.

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Photo of Saqib Bhatti Saqib Bhatti Conservative, Meriden

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken to provide (a) financial and (b) other support to places of worship and community groups affected financially by the covid-19 lockdown.

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

As the Department responsible for Faith, MHCLG continues to play a facilitative role in ensuring Government understands the needs of faith communities and the challenges they may be currently facing due to the pandemic. We are working closely with a range of faith and community groups to better understand how Government can support them to respond to the pressures they face on sustaining their organisations during this period of time.

There are a range of Government-backed financial support measures that these organisations can access.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme are both available to registered charities, and therefore places of worship registered with the Charities Commission. Registered charities have now been exempted from the requirement that the applicant derives at least 50 per cent of its income from its trading activity, so that more charities can access the scheme.

Any person or organisation, including places of worship, that is unable to pay any HMRC bill due to Covid-19 should get in contact through the HMRC Coronavirus helpline. HMRC will be able to agree payment plans, which can include a gap before any initial payment is required. If charities or places of worship are VAT registered, they are also able to use the VAT deferral scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme provides support for entity with a UK payroll - small or large, charitable or non-profit, to be reimbursed 80 per cent of furloughed worker wages by HMRC, up to a cap of £2500 per month.

However, we know that some charities cannot furlough staff as they are contributing to the frontline response. There is a substantial package of targeted support for charities on the frontline of responding to Covid-19. The Chancellor on 9 April announced £750 million of funding for charities providing key frontline services to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic. Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-sets-out-extra-750-million-coronavirus-funding-for-frontline-charities

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