Charities that are hit financially by coronavirus will only be able to apply for government loans if more than half their income comes from trading activity.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, was announced in last week’s Budget as one of the measures to support SMEs that experience financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19.

The Treasury has now confirmed that charities will be eligible, but only if they receive half their income from trading activity, which is likely to exclude many of those that have a mix of different income sources.

Ahead of the budget, sector leaders wrote to the chancellor warning that measures to contain and delay the spread of Covid-19 were likely to affect charities that rely on raising money from the public and those that trade or deliver public services.

They urged the government to set up a special fund for affected charities and to explicitly include the sector in its other preparations.

Charities are now concerned that they have not been listened to.

Richard Sagar, policy manager at the Charity Finance Group, said on Twitter that the restriction on loan funding means “the vast majority of charities won’t have access”.

“Charities need additional measures not outlined in the budget to help them through this very difficult time. Coronavirus won’t just affect business income but also fundraising, grants, investments etc.”

Daniel Fluskey, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, added: “We need more/additional support specific to charities. It’s the most vulnerable individuals and communities that will suffer if not.”

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