Budget 2022: What's In It, and What It Means for Your Nonprofit

Posted on
19 Oct 2021
by Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy

On 12 October, Government announced its Budget for 2022, the details of which have a range of implications for charities, community and voluntary organisations, social enterprises and all those whom they support, advocate with and deliver services to.  

At our post-Budget event on 15 October, independent social researcher Brian Harvey unpacked some of these implications, providing invaluable analysis of the Budget as it affects you and the people you support. Download Brian’s full analysis and watch the recording of the webinar. You can also read a full list of relevant points for the sector from Budget 2022 collated by The Wheel and organised by department.

Budget 2022 includes a range of welcome measures to bolster community and voluntary supports and services. The charities and voluntary organisations delivering these services will play a key role in ensuring a fair and inclusive recovery by supporting people and communities with innovative services, responding flexibly to emerging needs and focusing on vulnerable people and marginalised communities.

Our community and voluntary sector is the social fabric that knits our communities together and it is very welcome to see Budget allocations that will flow through to support the work of the community and voluntary sector, particularly in areas such as rural and community supports, disability services, carer supports, health providers and mental health services, as well as sports and the arts.

In our pre-Budget submission, A Fair Recovery Through Community, we highlighted the need for continuing supports for the sector through a range of measures, including:

  • Increasing the Budget for the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) by 5%
  • Ensuring charities and social enterprises have access to COVID-19 business supports
  • Investment in Tusla-funded organisations and support for collaborative work generally
  • Investment in the Sláintecare Integration Fund to support partnership working between funded organisations and the HSE/Department of Health
  • A 5% increase in the budget for the Department of Social Protection
  • Support for voluntary organisations to continue leading on tackling the climate crisis
  • Support for cross-border initiatives being led by the community and voluntary sector.

We welcome the measures in Budget 2022 that address these asks:

  • An increase of €35 million in the budget for DRCD
  • Additional budgets for health services and ongoing reform of health provision
  • An extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme until April 2022
  • An increase of €41 million or 4.8% to Tusla with a stated commitment to ‘Support the community and voluntary sector funded by Tusla to deliver important services on its behalf’
  • Additional budgets for health services overall and ongoing reform of health provision, including €35 million for mental health services
  • Various improved welfare provisions for those who rely on the supports of the community and voluntary sector, including €105 million for disability services and increases for those on Community Employment Schemes
  • €60 million in rates relief for arts, sports and certain other organisations
  • €500 million in multiannual funding for the Shared Island initiative
  • Additional funding of €17 million for the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications with a focus on addressing digital inequality.

We remain concerned, however, that charities who will be central to rebuilding Ireland after the impacts of COVID-19 will need further supports in order to continue their vital work. A dedicated recovery fund for the sector, as well as additional funding for the VAT compensation scheme and moves to sustainable, multi-annual funding are not included in Budget 2022. The Wheel will continue to advocate for further supports such as these in the wake of the Budget.

As demonstrated in Brian Harvey’s analysis, while overall Government spending is up 34% on the 2008 benchmark, funding for the community and voluntary sector has not increased by the same degree. Below is a summary of some of the main points in Budget 2022 as it affects the community and voluntary sector.

Investing in Community

We particularly welcome the additional €35 million allocated to the Department of Rural and Community Development in Budget 2022 to fund community and voluntary services and supports. This marks a significant acknowledgement of the work carried out by community and voluntary organisations during the pandemic, as well as the ongoing role that the sector will play in ensuring there is an inclusive recovery for all.

This additional funding includes an increase of €5 million allocated for the upgrade of community centres. These centres are the hub for community life and this investment will help secure the future of many such facilities.

Other important schemes such as the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and the Rural Regeneration Fund will receive increased funding in Budget 2022.

Further supports for those engaged in Community Employment Schemes are also welcome, as many of these roles are crucial to social inclusion and the ongoing supports provided in a range of areas by community and voluntary organisations.

An Inclusive Recovery

The announcement of €105 million for disability services and €35 million for mental health services is a much-needed shot in the arm for services that have seen a surge in demand over the past 18-months. Voluntary service providers currently provide two-thirds of services to people with disabilities and a quarter of acute hospital services, which includes mental health services.

The €78 million provided in core funding for childcare providers will place these services on a more secure footing and will help employers to retain staff. This is also an area where community and voluntary organisations provide vital services and supports.

Also welcome are additional supports for carers, such as increased weekly income disregards, which will improve the quality of life for many people who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

However, it is important to note that the Department of Social Protection has received a 27% cut in funding from 2021. Even though funding for the Department is demand led, there is a risk that this is likely to have a negative effect on those who were most vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic. Ireland’s recovery must be an inclusive one that continues to support everyone.

Pandemic Supports

We also welcome the announcement that the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will be extended to April 2022. This will greatly assist charities hit by income collapse during the crisis that relied on the scheme and enable such organisations to continue providing essential services and protect the most vulnerable in society.

While much more is needed to facilitate the ongoing work of charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises in Ireland, the continuation of this scheme will prove vital to organisations who have relied on it during the pandemic.

Arts and Sport

€60 million in rates relief for arts, sports and certain other organisations is a further welcome element of Budget 2022, though we are seeking clarification that charities and social enterprises will be included in this scheme. Compared to the 2021 allocation, an additional €89 million in current expenditure and an extra €16.7 million in capital expenditure is being allocated to the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media in 2022. Again, this reflects an acknowledgement of the value brought to society by these organisations, especially during the pandemic, many of which are charities or voluntary organisations.

Cross-Border Initiatives

In support of Building a Shared Island, a new multiannual capital funding for the Shared Island Initiative of €500 million is to be provided over five years to foster new investment and development opportunities on a North/South basis and support delivery of key cross border initiatives as set out in the Programme for Government. This initiative involves key contributions from community and voluntary organisations, who have led the way in cross-border initiatives for many years, and is welcomed by The Wheel.

Our member networks are a great way to engage with us about the issues of the sector and our campaigns and advocacy priorities. You can sign up to a relevant network here: https://www.wheel.ie/membership/networks.

If you have any additional queries, please contact Policy Officer, Lily Power (lily@wheel.ie).