Coronavirus: Honours list to be delayed to reward heroes, government announces

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The Queen’s birthday honours have been delayed until the autumn, to allow a raft of ‘coronavirus heroes’ to be recognised.

The announcement was made less than a day after Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised almost £33 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, was given a knighthood.

Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, also announced ministers would match the funding raised by the BBC’s BIg Night In to the tune of £70 million.

The Queen’s birthday honours list had been due to be published next month.

Its contents were agreed before the UK was badly hit by the global pandemic, however.

Ministers felt it was more appropriate if the list was delayed to include those who have battled on the frontlines against Covid-19.

Mr Dowden also announced that £150 million would be “unlocked” from dormant bank accounts to help charities respond to the coronavirus crisis.

The chancellor has previously announced a £750 million pot to help charities.

Experts warn that charity funding has collapsed, with shops closed and many households tightening their belts.

Of the £150 million, £10 million will be for the Youth Futures Foundation to help organisations who support disadvantaged young people into work.

Another £45 million will help charities, social enterprises and some small businesses facing cash-flow problems.

Mr Dowden said: “Charities and social enterprises are playing a vital role in our national effort against coronavirus.

“This funding will support organisations that are at the heart of their communities, building on our unprecedented package of financial support for the voluntary sector.

“Through our proposals to further expand the dormant assets scheme, we want to unlock hundreds of millions more pounds for good causes, while keeping customer protection at the heart of the programme.”

Mr Dowden also announced a taskforce being created to help the arts, sports and digital sectors recover will involve former footballer Alex Scott, former BBC and ITV chairman Lord Grade, English National Ballet artistic director Tamara Rojo and tech entrepreneur Baroness Lane-Fox.

Meanwhile, the National Lottery Community Fund will open for applications on Friday.

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