Almost 60,000 voluntary sector jobs could be lost by the end of the year because of the Covid-19 crisis, new figures show.
Latest results from Pro Bono Economics’ Charity Sector Tracker, which involves research with more than 450 voluntary sector organisations, found that 19 per cent of respondents had already made job cuts and that 23 per cent expected to make further redundancies when the government’s furlough scheme was withdrawn at the end of October.
Pro Bono Economics said 5,400 job losses had already been announced in the charity sector since the start of the pandemic, but it believed the true figure was closer to 25,600 and that a further 34,100 charity sector employees might lose their jobs by the end of the year.
The research, which was conducted in partnership with the Charity Finance Group and the Institute of Fundraising earlier this month, found that while slightly more than two-thirds of charities expected demand for their support to increase over the next six months, 58 per cent said they would be forced to reduce the services they offered over the same period.
PBE has already predicted a £10bn income shortfall for UK voluntary sector organisations this year because of the pandemic.
More than 70 per cent of respondents think it will take more than a year for income to return to pre-crisis levels and about a quarter said it would take more than two years.
Matt Whittaker, chief executive of Pro Bono Economics, said: “With the recession biting and unemployment rising, the social sector has never been more needed.
“But an alarming proportion of jobs in the sector are now at risk. That means many of the charity workers who have provided vital support to millions across the country since the start of the Covid-19 crisis are facing a very uncertain future.
“Navigating this period rests in part on getting more resources into the sector, from government, from existing funders and from members of the public.
“But it also rests on reversing the public policy neglect the sector has suffered from over many years.”