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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Cost of living & the #RunningCostsCrisis

We're here to support you in tough times

As the cost of living crisis takes hold, people and communities need voluntary sector services more than ever. At the same time, voluntary organisations face spiralling costs, falling income and an uncertain future. We know that 61% of voluntary organisations are experiencing financial challenges while continuing to see an increased demand for services.

It’s a worrying time. We're here to provide practical support and help fight your corner.

We are regularly updating this page with new information, news and updates, so please keep checking to make sure that you're up to speed with all of our latest #RunningCostsCrisis resources.

We’re also eager to hear from you. How are you affected? What would help?

Get in touch

Information & advice

When your budgets are tight and your future feels uncertain, making sure your policies and ways of working are efficient is important. We’re here to help with our information on a range of topics, from getting and keeping funding, to business planning and organisational development, to staff retention and reward. Get in touch if you need us.

We know that the ever-changing landscape and updates on new government schemes can be overwhelming, and at times difficult to understand. We've created some handy #RunningCostsCrisis FAQs to help simplify these updates for you:

On 21st September 2022, the UK government announced a new Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) to reduce wholesale energy costs. The amount your organisation could save will depend on your contract and circumstances.

  • You do not need to take action or apply to the scheme to access the support 
  • It will apply to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, running for an initial six-month period. The savings will be first seen in October bills, which are usually received in November.   
  • If your organisation is not connected to either the gas or electricity grid, there will be equivalent support. SCVO will share this information as soon as it is available. 
  • We do not know what will happen after April 1st yet. We're working with others to influence the UK government on this.

On 23rd September 2022, the UK government announced the Growth Plan 2022. The new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has reversed many of the proposed tax cuts, including cutting the basic tax rate. We will revise our information as the approach is clarified by the UK Government on 31 October 2022.

Most of the Growth Plan will impact on the voluntary sector indirectly- affecting the individuals we work with, and the issues that we work on. For example, through changes to income tax, universal credit and a review of how we reach our net-zero commitments.  One of the more direct impacts is on Gift Aid tax relief, which will stay at 20% until 2027.  

Not all measures announced by the UK Government will apply to Scotland. There will be an emergency budget review from the Scottish Government in the week beginning 24th October. 

For more analysis of the EBRS and the Growth Plan see SCVO’s detailed policy briefing.

Policy & influencing

We’re giving you information to deal with things as they are, but we’re also always working closely with government, funders and the sector, to influence and guide decisions and discussions. Here’s a round up of the way we’re using our voice to support you through financial uncertainty.

  • We've briefed MPs with constituencies in Scotland, alongside Volunteer Scotland, on the impact of the cost of living crisis on the voluntary sector and told them what we want to happen next.
  • We've written to John Swinney to express SCVO's disappointment at the lack of recognition of the challenges faced by voluntary organisations, staff, and volunteers. This led to the Deputy First Minister convening a roundtable for some sector representatives, at which we reiterated the need for multi-year sustainable funding 
  • We've signed a joint letter to the UK chancellor, urging him to remember the voluntary sector and give meaningful support to charities and to the people we support.
  • We are briefing both the Scottish and Westminster governments about the impacts of the crisis on our sector. See, for example, our response to the Finance & Public Administration Committee: Scotland's public finances in 2023-24 - the impact of the cost of living and public service reform.
  • We've summarised the commitments from the UK Government's Autumn Statement that will impact the voluntary sector operating environment. Our summary includes analysis from key commentators. 

Government budgets - what's happened and what's coming up

On 2nd November Scottish Government released its Emergency Budget Review.

On the 17th of October, Jeremy Hunt MP, reversed nearly all proposals in the previous UK Government ‘mini-budget’ in September. He announced that: 

  • almost all tax measures would not go ahead, with two exceptions: cutting national insurance and, in England, cutting stamp duty. 
  • The energy support announced in September’s mini budget would remain unchanged until March 2023.

On the 17th of November the UK Government published the Autumn Statement.

Key announcements coming up:

  • 15th of December - Scottish budget for 23/24. This is the budget that happens every year.

Opinions and news from SCVO

Fair funding: it's time to abandon the spin - SCVO's Paul Bradley calls for multi-year, accessible funding

Repair your umbrella or build a boat? How to respond to a perfect storm - SCVO's Kirsten Hogg says the crisis is a fight on all fronts

How funders can help charities get through the #RunningCostsCrisis - SCVO's Sally Dyson looks at how funders have been responding to the ever-growing challenge

Updates from SCVO

Our Policy Manager Paul is in London to talk to UK Government.

Hear from SCVO's Kirsten Hogg as she lays out lays out the sector's response to rising energy costs, and what support is now being offered to voluntary organisations:

Practical cost saving from SCVO

Keeping costs down has never felt more important. Our members have access to exclusive services and support including:

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Managing rising energy costs

30th November

In partnership with Utility Aid and our sister council NCVO, we're running a webinarwith advice on checking your energy bills are accurate and practical tips for keeping costs down.

Find out more and sign up

Work and news from the sector

Read about other members of the sector, and hear how they’re responding to the cost of living crisis.

Please get in touch with us to tell us your story, or share other resources that you have found valuable.

Get in touch