Pensions deficit causes £1m loss for Cancer Research UK Group

Despite this income rose to £679.2m, including £32m in property sales

< This story has been amended; see final paragraph

Cancer Research UK Group made a £1m loss last year because of its pensions deficit, despite a large increase in the charity’s overall income, the charity’s latest accounts show.

The CRUK Group comprises the charity and its subsidaries which include Cancer Research Technology and Cancer Research UK Trading.

In its accounts for the year to 31 March 2017, which were published on Companies House earlier this week, CRUK Group’s total income was £679.2m, compared with £635.2m the previous year.

The accounts show that this is partly due to £32m from property transactions from the sale of Clare Hall for £14.5m and the charity’s relocation from Angel, London, to Stratford, which saved the charity £17.5m.

But a £33.9m actuarial loss on pensions led to a £9.1m loss for the charity, with total funds of £347.6m, the accounts show. This compares with a £5.3m profit for the charity the previous year.

Total funds for the CRUK group were £383.5m, down £1m on the previous year, according to the accounts.

The accounts show that total expenditure at CRUK rose from £629.8m to £665.6m, and spending on charitable activities accounted for £472.6m of that figure.

Income, excluding property gains and trading activities, is £545m, compared with £539.9m the previous year, according to the accounts. This was mainly due to an £8m increase in donated income.

The accounts also show that CRUK’s legacies income increased by almost £9m to £186.6m, but there is £22m worth of legacies that are not included in the figures for reasons such as corrupt title or contentious cases.

The charity’s highest earner was the chief executive, Sir Harpal Kumar, who earned up to £250,000, according to the accounts.

Overall, the charity spent almost £1.6m on the executive team, including salaries and pension contributions. The accounts show there were 188 people who earned more than £60,000 a year.

Carli Woodhouse, head of finance at Cancer Research UK, said the £1m deficit in the group accounts was due to actuarial loss on pensions. "Like most large employers, we offered a defined-benefit pension scheme to our staff which is now closed. We have taken action with the scheme’s trustees to reduce the level of annual contribution and expect the deficit to be eradicated within 10 years. The loss will be offset against Cancer Research UK Group’s reserves."

< The original story incorrectly said the chief executive’s salary was £244m but the actual figure was upto £250,000 a year. Further changes have been made to make it clear that the figures refer to the group accounts of the charity. 

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