Cuts slash charity funding to the bone

Posted on: 02 August 2011 by Alexander Hay

How will charities that aid the elderly and disabled provide more with less?

Why is the government cutting funding to deprived areas?

The problem with charities getting state money is twofold. First, what happens when the government pulls that money away? Plus, if charities are doing work in the community, who takes over when they have to retreat?

More than 2,000 charities across England have had their funding cut or withdrawn altogether by local councils, according to research.

The study by anti-cuts website False Economy was based on over 250 Freedom of Information requests responses.

The cuts total more than £110m in this year, but the final figure could be far higher, their report claimed.

The government said any councils not recognising the importance of the voluntary sector were "short-sighted".

Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman said the impact of cutting funding for charities will be "devastating" and called on the government to conduct a review.

A quarter of all charities receive funding from the state and for some groups - such as employment and training organisations - it can make up the bulk of their income...

A look at the report makes for sobering reading. Of the charities stripped of money, 112 are adult care charities, 151 look after the disabled and 142 are aimed at the elderly. How will they be able to provide services in the wake of these cuts?

An interactive map on the Guardian web site also reveals a great deal. Amongst some of the worst areas hit are poor urban areas like Liverpool and Birmingham, and London boroughs like Barking & Dagenham and Bromley, the latter known for having a larger than average population of elderly residents.

Meanwhile the areas where funding have actually increased or stayed the same are in relatively affluent areas such as Winchester, Reading and St. Albans.

This underlines the inherent flaw behind the government's 'Big Society' concept. You still need money to do things, and expecting the voluntary sector to provide services without funding is just as naive as assuming that public sector workers will work for free.


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Alexander Hay

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