Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener
Frontline charities are being granted an extra £750 million in funding so they can keep going through the coronavirus crisis, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced.
Tens of thousands of charities in the UK are set to benefit from the package, which has been announced so they can meet increased demand caused by Covid-19.
The chancellor said while the right decision for many charities is to close and furlough staff, the package is designed to keep charities open whose service remains vital throughout the epidemic.
Some £360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.
Charities due to receive some of £360 million:
Hospices will receive £200 million to help increase capacity and give stability to the sector
St Johns Ambulance to support the NHS
Victims charities, including domestic abuse, to help with potential increase in demand for charities providing these services
Vulnerable children charities, so they can continue delivering services on behalf of local authorities
Citizens Advice to increase the number of staff providing advice during this difficult time
The remaining £370 million, which is destined for smaller and medium sized charities, will come in part from a National Lottery Community Fund grant, for those in England.
It will go to charities "at the heart of local communities" which are "making a big difference during the outbreak, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice".
The Chancellor also said the government will match fund whatever the public donates to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal on April 23rd.
The government contribution will start with at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.
Mr Sunak said charities are playing a "crucial role" in the UK's fight against coronavirus, adding "it's right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time".
He went on: "This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people up and down the country rely on."
But he warned he would not be able to save every job, business or charity with his emergency measures.
“In spite of what are unprecedented measures in scale and scope, I can’t stand here and say I can save every single job, protect every single business or indeed every single charity," he said, “That’s just simply not possible.”
He said the PM is receiving “excellent care” in hospital and is "sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team".
“The Prime Minister is not only my colleague and my boss but also my friend, and my thoughts are with him and his family," he added.
The PM continues to receive “standard oxygen treatment” and is “breathing without any other assistance”, his spokesperson said.
The Department of Health said, as of 9am on Wednesday, 232,708 people have been tested for Covid-19, of which 60,733 tested positive.