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In 2019-20, the Government spent around £117.5 billion in the form of grants to organisations like local authorities, public bodies and charities. This represents around 13% of all Government spending for that year.

Grants are divided into two main types: formula grants, where funding is distributed to a particular class of recipients by a mathematical formula, and general grants, which are given for a particular purpose. General grants can be classified further depending on whether recipients compete for funding, have to demonstrate that they meet certain criteria, or are simply given funding directly.

According to Cabinet Office data, over half of all grants in 2019-20 went to the education sector. Much of the funding was given out via local authorities. Formula grants made up 70% of all grant funding in 2019-20, of which most also went to education.

The department funding the most general grants by value in 2019-20 was the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – this included programmes such as the Better Care Fund and Affordable Housing London. Most grants were under £1 million, but there were also a few very large grants – the recipients who received the most were local authorities and large international institutions.

Organisations based in London typically received the largest grants, with smaller concentrations in other cities. A small number of grants went to other countries.

Businesses and organisations can obtain grants through online sources such as Grantfinder, and the Library can help MPs and their staff with sources for grants in specific areas.

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