Charities are calling on the British government for greater support as they report the loss of millions of dollars as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oxfam said it is losing ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) a month from the closure of its shops alone, while Christian Aid last week said it expected a ￡6 million drop in its funds this financial year.
Others said they were still calculating the impact.
Bond, the UK international development network, wants the government to establish a stabilization fund so organizations can survive and continue to deliver aid to people living in refugee camps or in extreme poverty.
Major development charities contacted by the Guardian said they expect to see a significant drop in funding because of the closure of charity shops, no face-to-face fundraising and the cancelation of key events, such as music festivals and the London Marathon.
UK charities would need ￡4 billion to cover the funding lost because of the pandemic, Bond chief operating officer Graham MacKay said.
“At least ￡320 million of this should be made available to charities working internationally,” he said.
The majority of the development sector would not be eligible for the ￡750 million pot recently announced for front-line charities.
“Nobody should be left behind during this humanitarian crisis, but who is going to help get society’s most vulnerable people through this if charities collapse?” MacKay said.
“Many charities have seen their income hit hard because of the crisis,” Oxfam director of engagement Nicola Tallett said.
“Oxfam is no exception. It’s too early to say what the overall impact will be, but the closure of the shops alone means we are losing ￡5 million a month,” she said.
Oxfam is furloughing about two-thirds of its UK workforce, including most shop staff.
Anticipating a drop in unrestricted income, Christian Aid is to furlough 20 percent of UK staff to protect country programs and international staff.
Other personnel are moving to four-day weeks, with leaders taking temporary salary cuts.
The British Department for International Development has announced a ￡200 million package of COVID-19 support, the majority of which would go to UN agencies.
Just ￡20 million is assigned for international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including UK development charities, which is insufficient to plug the shortfall.
Concern Worldwide UK executive director Danny Harvey said that as well as supporting NGOs to contribute to the global response to COVID-19, the department should show flexibility to support core costs — which can include staff and office costs — and continue to maintain funding for other projects that might have been suspended because of coronavirus restrictions.
“It is vital we can continue to work and recover quickly from the effects of the pandemic in the countries where we work,” she said.
Concern said it had implemented a number of cost-saving measures, including graduated reductions to staff salaries across the board and a voluntary option for staff to work reduced hours.
“Now more than ever support is needed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in vulnerable and poor communities already suffering due to conflict, disaster and climate change, and to help them cope with growing risks of hunger and even greater poverty due to the pandemic,” Tallett said.
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