In Brief

Cancer Research UK cuts research funding by £44m as charities struggle

Leading charity says fight against disease could be set back many years

Cancer Research UK says the fight against cancer could be set back by several years due to a dramatic fall in income during the coronavirus pandemic.

The leading charity is cutting research funding by £44m because it expects income to drop by up to 25% as a result of the crisis.

Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation, explained that the charity funds nearly 50% of cancer research in the UK, and that “making cuts to research funding is the most difficult decision we have had to make”.

He added: “We are hopeful that limiting our spending now will enable us to continue funding life-saving research in the long run.”

The charity told The Guardian the impact of the new coronavirus has been significant, saying its “shops had closed, mass fundraising events had stopped and legacies had reduced”. This has led to a reduction of around £120 million in income. 

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Several charities have complained of a fall in income recently. The Conversation says the pandemic is a “perfect storm” for charities: an increase in demand for services at the same time as volunteers are forced to stay at home and donations are drying up. 

“From food banks to mental health experts, the charitable sector is providing plenty of people with support in these troubled times,” says the BBC, “but charities themselves are reeling from the financial impact of the crisis”.

This perfect storm is expected to lead to a total loss in charity income of £4.3 billion over a 12-week period. The first aid charity St John Ambulance Association, which is helping the NHS cope with coronavirus cases, said it could go bust in August unless it receives state aid.

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, said on Twitter that the charity sector requires its own package of support from the government.

“Please recognise the impact losing charities - big and small - will have on our society,” she wrote.

“Charities are to society what bees are to the environment. We work away, often in the background, often unnoticed.”

Pressure is now mounting on chancellor Rishi Sunak after more than 100 parliamentarians - including several Conservatives – demanded an “immediate injection of money” to stop charities going to the wall, reports PoliticsHome.

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