15/02/2010 - Charities face 25% cuts

SIR Stephen Bubb is the chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.  The ACEVO represents around 2,000 charity leaders in Britain. 

In early January he warned about the effect the Con-Dem cuts would have on the voluntary sector.  In his view, cuts to local government grants this year will force thousands of charities to slash their services or close entirely.

He said:

“The £500m in cash reductions we’ve seen so far in the voluntary sector are merely the first signs of a gathering tsunami of ill-considered cuts which threatens to decimate the third sector, wreaking havoc on our communities."

He also added:

“If some local councils continue with this Neanderthal approach to cuts, we will be setting a time bomb of social need, which first the most vulnerable in society and then ultimately taxpayers will pay for.”

The £500m cut that Sir Stephen mentions is just the tip of the iceberg.  It’s now thought that the voluntary sector’s income from state sources could shrink by between £3bn and £5bn as a result of the cuts.

Solidarity Trade Union is already hearing whispers that the grant cuts to charities could be around the 25% mark. 

These charities will then be forced to mark heartbreaking choices.  If they decide to maintain their current service levels – with reduced funding – they’ll have to make some workers redundant.  However, if they want to keep their workers on they’ll have to reduce the services they provide. 

It’s a no-win situation for everybody involved.  So much for Cameron’s ‘Big Society’!

And, as Sir Stephen has intimated, these cuts will have devastating consequences.  The poor, single parents, disabled and other vulnerable folks will receive another kick in the teeth.

We understand that the true extent of the cuts will be revealed in April.  Charities will await the announcement with fear and trepidation.