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Petition Include animal charities in emergency funding due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government have announced financial help packages for charities but animal welfare charities are not included.
Many animal charities (wildlife, rescue, service & companion animal charities) will be forced to close due to lack of funding during this terrible time.

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Animal welfare charities are often excluded from funding opportunities (the National Lottery being a good case in point).
My own interest, wildlife rehabilitation, is necessary because of the damage that we do to wild animals and their habitats.
Over 95% of the casualties that we treat annually have sustained their injuries through interaction with humans (road accidents, poisoning, litter related injuries, house building, habitat destruction - the list is endless). Funding needs to be available.

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Government responded

This response was given on 15 July 2020

The animal welfare sector has faced serious challenges during the time that restrictions have been in place to tackle the spread of Covid-19 and the Government is exploring how these can be alleviated

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The Government has put a significant effort into helping businesses and charities cope in these strained times whilst we remain completely focussed on tackling the spread of the virus.

A number of animal welfare charities have been able to take advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme announced by the Chancellor. In addition, the Government has acted quickly to assist zoos and aquariums through the Zoo Support Fund which has made up to £100 million available to help to maintain a high standard of care for their animals during the coronavirus pandemic. A portion of this funding has been awarded to zoos that are charities, which has enabled them to continue providing vital care to their wild animals.

As well as the Job Retention Scheme, charities are eligible to apply for a range of other support schemes including the VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan schemes, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding of up to £25,000 through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

The Government recognises that there will be further demands on the sector as we recover from the current pandemic and that these impacts will continue for some time even beyond the immediate end of the crisis. For example, there are concerns about increased abandonment of pet, and ensuring their continued care.

The Government welcomes the in-sector initiatives to help animal welfare charities with the launch of several emergency grant schemes, to assist animal rescue and rehoming centres. These initiatives have enabled the worst affected rescue centres to be assisted. We understand that the rescue fund schemes have been a success, in terms of raising money and highlighting those rescue centres most in need – in the cat, dog and equine sectors.

The Government recognises that many charities rely on legacy payments as a source of income. We know that there have been delays in charities receiving legacy income, which has impacted on their ability to continue their work, particularly at a time when other income sources may be reduced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. However, waiting times have now greatly improved, and applications are continuing to progress, and grants issued in spite of the outbreak.

We continue to explore other mechanisms and initiatives that may help animal welfare charities to continue their invaluable work.

On 23 June, the Prime Minister announced further easing of the lockdown restrictions. This includes the opening up of retail and other activities which will assist animal charities in raising income through their retail networks.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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