Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) Age-concern, (b) other county-based charities and (c) large charities; what assessment he has made of the contribution of such charities to the delivery of front-line services to the vulnerable elderly; and if he will urgently make it his policy to allow larger charities, which are continuing to deliver front-line services to benefit from National Lottery Community Fund support.  [Redesignated as no. 43573]
[Due for Answer on 4 May.] [Revised date for Answer on 11 May.]
Owing to a – most unusual – error in Parliament's processing system, the reference numbers for this Question and for Question 40457 were wrongly attached to another MP's Questions. Consequently, both had to be re-tabled on 5 May with a new date for Answer on 11 May.
The Minister of State for Media and Data (Mr John Whittingdale): We recognise the huge value that charities like Age-UK are providing to the Covid-19 response as they provide advice and support to over 8.5 million older people who have been told to self-isolate.
My department is continuing to monitor the health of the sector, its contribution to the nation’s Covid-19 response and the financial impacts on charities, including Age-UK and other county-based charities, and is establishing mechanisms to collate robust and ongoing insights. The £750 million VCSE support package is available to support all charities - large or small - at risk of financial hardship that are providing key frontline services to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic.
Government remains committed to ongoing data collation and in depth engagement with the voluntary sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work closely to assess how we can support charities in doing their important work.
We are working at pace to finalise the grant agreement, processes and criteria for the fund this week, with a view to launch as soon as possible.