Thursday, August 4, 2011

2,000 UK charities face spending cuts

Source: Press TV

Anti-cut campaign group False Economy has revealed that over 2,000 charities and community groups will be forced to shut services and dismiss staff due to the government's budget cuts.

According to the research conducted by False Economy, based on 265 freedom-of-information replies from local councils across England, several charities and voluntary groups have to deal with deep spending cuts, only a year after the beginning of the Prime Minister's Big Society.

The research demonstrated that the British charities have faced net budget reductions of over £110 million this year. The funding cuts have strongly hit the Birmingham city council with more than 190 organizations missing out, followed by cross-council organization London Councils cutting budget to 174 groups.

Several charities will lose their whole budgets, while others will witness their budget cut by half. The worst hit included children's and young people-related charities, with over 380 organizations hit. Some 150 disability, 142 elderly, and more than 110 adult care charities are also target of the budget cut.

Clifford Singer, False Economy's director, criticized the coalition government's wrong economic strategies, saying, "These cuts go deep into the voluntary and community sectors. These are not just nice to have groups but organizations providing vital services for older people trying to maintain independent lives, vulnerable children and abused women.”

"With so many of the cuts simply resulting in further pressure on the NHS or other statutory services, they are truly a false economy.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber expressed his outrage over the published figures, insisting, "These deep cuts to voluntary groups across the UK show that Government claims that charities can replace direct services currently provided by central or local government are false. “

“It sounds great, but in practice the Big Society is looking more and more like a big con."

Meanwhile, Local Government Association chairman Sir Merrick Cockell backed the funding cut plans in a time of government's harsh economic condition.

"The severity of cuts to council budgets means savings are having to be made across the board, and unfortunately funding to charities, voluntary organizations and community groups is not exempt," Cockell said.

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