Posted on 28 Sep 2021

The inclusion of charities, community organisations and social enterprises in all of the Government's pandemic recovery supports, as well as sustainable multi-annual funding for charities and an increase in the VAT Compensation Fund for Charities, are among the key demands of the national association of charities, The Wheel, in its submission to Budget 22, launched today.

Speaking at the online launch event, Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy at the Wheel, which represents 1,985 charities, said it is vital that we achieve a just and fair social and economic recovery. No one should be left behind as we build forward better on the collaborations and the special supports provided during the crisis. The necessary current and capital funds are there for us to be ambitious in social and economic policies that reject austerity.”

In its extensive pre-Budget submission, Recovery Through Community, The Wheel proposes a range of measures to ensure that post-pandemic Ireland provides adequate support for all communities. These include: 

  • Inclusion of community-based activity and organisations in all recovery funding for 2021 and 2022, including the current Business Resumption Support Scheme and Small Companies Administration Rescue Process). 
  • An increase in the Charities VAT Compensation Scheme to €20m annually. 
  • Multi-annual funding to ensure adequate resources for services generally. 
  • Support and resources for the cost of compliance and streamlining regulatory and funding-related compliance requirements. 
  • Dedicated funding to deliver the recommendations of the three national strategies for the community and voluntary sector, social enterprise and volunteering. 
  • Continued government monitoring action on excessive insurance costs which threatens many vulnerable community initiatives and events. 

Ivan Cooper said, “Budget 2022 must prioritise a fair economic recovery that acknowledges and resources community and community-based activity for the benefit of all.  This includes delivery of vital services in areas like health and disability, social care, education, housing, poverty relief, the arts and sport, as well as advocacy and international development.   

“Charities and community organisations played a key part in sustaining communities during the crisis, restructured their services to deliver remotely, cut costs, redirected resources to priority areas and designed new services targeted at meeting new needs. 

“Community-based organisations in every city, town and parish countrywide are equally essential in our recovery after the pandemic, supporting society and communities with innovative services, responding flexibly to need and focusing on vulnerable people and marginalised communities,” Ivan Cooper said.   

Representatives from several charities working in areas of social care, domestic abuse, and housing also addressed attendees at the launch event.  

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy, Family Carers Ireland, said, “Family Carers Ireland is hitting out at the Government’s failure to support the over 500,000 people currently looking after a loved one at home saying platitudes do not put food on the table or provide vital respite breaks to those caring 24/7 for family members with highly complex needs. The Programme for Government states that ‘family carers are the backbone of care provision in Ireland. They deserve support and recognition from Government’. Those are noble sentiments, but the truth is that throughout this pandemic, the needs of family carers were ignored, they were left without vital support services and suffered severe hardship as a result. We simply must see follow through on these commitments in Budget 2022.” 

Tim Crowley, Finance Officer at Cualann Cohousing Alliance said, “We look forward to the financial commitments included in the Government’s recent Housing for All report being realised in the forthcoming Budget. This will enable Ó Cualann and other Approved Housing Bodies to expand our delivery of social and affordable homes and create sustainable communities in Ireland."

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