Councils are passing on disproportionate cuts to charities according to a leaked report written last year by the chief executives body Acevo.
Cuts to the Third Sector: What can we Learn from Transition Fund Applications? was leaked to the shadow civil society minister Gareth Thomas. The government did not intend to publish the findings publicly and Acevo said it was given access to the data on the understanding that its findings would only be circulated among government.
Written in March 2011, the report is based on data provided by the 1,725 voluntary organisations that applied to the Office for Civil Society’s Transition Fund – a £107m pot for charities facing public spending cuts.
It said that even in the best-case scenario, charities were set to lose 7.6 per cent of their statutory income, while English local authorities faced an average 4.4 per cent drop in their spending power in 2012.
The report said that charities applying to the fund reported facing cuts of £412m and based on what was happening to these organisations, cuts to the wider sector were likely to be between £970m and just over £5.5bn.
The report was circulated internally to HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The Cabinet Office published the report on its website on Friday, before the leak was made public on Sunday.
Ralph Michell, director of policy at Acevo, said the organisation was only given access to the data on condition that its analysis was kept private. He said Acevo was not behind the leak, which attracted widespread media coverage over the weekend.
Thomas said: "Charities and community groups across the country have taken a huge and completely disproportionate hit in funding, just when demands for their help are rising fast."
He cited the example of Nottinghamshire County Council, whose funding has been cut by 8 per cent, but which has cut voluntary sector funding by 34 per cent.
However, a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: "Acevo’s report is a misrepresentation as it is only based on applicants to the fund and not all voluntary organisations.
"Our analysis shows that some applicants over-stated their expected reductions and therefore we do not consider these figures reliable."
Michell said Acevo’s analysis did not assume that all charities were affected by cuts in the same way as fund applicants.
Joe Irvin, chief executive of local infrastructure group Navca, said: "Let’s not get sidetracked into an argument about whether the cuts are one colossal number or another – the fact is they are happening."