We can all see the effects Government spending cuts are having; the ‘Granny tax’, changes to the benefit system, new limitations on those who qualify for child tax benefits, to name just a few. Controversy has surrounded the Government’s proposed charity donations tax relief cap, and a new report outlines the difficulties facing children and young people’s charities in these stringent times.
A report released by the National Children’s Bureau yesterday shows that a significant amount of children’s charities fear closure over the coming year, and others are bringing in belt tightening measures due to a £405 million funding loss.
It is estimated that the 34,000 charities which work with mainly children and young people are more vulnerable to the cuts being implemented over the next five years as they are more dependent on income from statutory sources as oppose to corporate financial support.
Charities NCB consulted have outlined the measures they will be taking to cope with the cuts, including reducing the number of staff they employ, cutting back services, and developing mergers between charities. Charities also reported struggling with the lack of capacity to develop partnerships and shared services and a lack of understanding about new business and funding models.
As money and resources become scarcer, charities and the government must work together to come up with new and innovative ideas to keep children and young people’s charities working into the future.
As part of the Big Society plan the Government has introduced, the charity sector is expected to play a key role in delivering services. Despite more pressure being placed on the services charities provide due to the economic downturn increasing the burden placed upon them, the government is cutting funding and public funding has decreased.
The report recommends a number of measures which should be taken to safeguard these charities. These include a Government led analysis of spending in the sector, a survey of children and young people’s charities assessing the effects austerity measures are having, the development of a strategy concerning the future development of the sector, and greater cooperation between directors of children’s services, public health leads, GP led commissioning groups and the voluntary sector.
Chief executive of NCB, Dr Hilary Emery said: “shutting up shop is only a short term answer to a long term problem. While children’s charities themselves must be at the forefront of creating solutions, there is still a role for national government to put its weight behind the development of a new partnerships and new ways of working”.
There are multiple children’s and young people’s charities in York, providing health, child care, family, education, mental health, housing, political and day to day support. Lets hope that the recommendations made by the NCB report are taken on board and the city, and the nation as a whole, doesn’t lose these vital organisations.