OBR figures indicate £6.6bn pandemic scar for charity sector In response to today’s Budget and Spending Review, Matt Whittaker, CEO of Pro Bono Economics, said:“The Chancellor has given a vital boost to public services and offered a helping hand to workers faced with a cost of living crisis through his pledges on Universal Credit and the National Living Wage. “But this does little to help the country’s most vulnerable, including the 700,000 long-term unemployed, who have been hardest-hit by the pandemic. Charities are vital to supporting those at the sharp end of society, but the OBR’s forecasts for household spending imply that the sector could be heading into winter with a permanent £6.6 billion gap in public giving as a result of the pandemic. “All of this makes it even more disappointing to see charities once again conspicuous by their absence in the Treasury’s documents. The sector employs nearly a million people in the UK and has provided a lifeline throughout the pandemic, yet it remains overlooked by too many of the nation’s policymakers. “There was also very little evidence in the Chancellor’s speech of investment in the ‘vibrant communities’ the government has promised to enhance. The government says that improving social infrastructure in the UK’s communities is essential to ‘levelling up’ but has failed to commit to this with funding.” Contact PBE's press office here.