Acevo poll finds most charities have cut front-line spending

The charity chief executives body Acevo has reiterated calls for the government to urgently increase funding to voluntary sector organisations after a snap poll showed the majority of charities have been forced to cut spending on front-line services. 

Acevo, working with researchers at the Centre for Mental Health, said a survey they had jointly conducted found that 54 per cent of respondents said they had reduced spending on front-line services over the past month. 

It is the second in a new series of monthly surveys carried out by the two organisations,and attracted 124 responses at the end of May and the beginning of June. 

The results indicated a sharp rise in the proportion of charities that had reduced spending on front-line services, up by 24 percentage points on the previous month’s survey. 

Researchers asked respondents about five areas of financial health, including donations, reserves and staffing levels, including those who have been furloughed.

They used the results to calculate a figure demonstrating the financial health of the sector, which came out at 42.8 out of 100. 

This means that, on average, conditions are deteriorating for charities, researchers concluded. 

A score of 50 means no change and a score of 100 means every area has improved. 

But the score was higher than the previous month’s result of 30.8, meaning that conditions were still worsening but at a slower rate. 

Kristiana Wrixon, head of policy at Acevo, said: “In April, the Chancellor announced emergency funding for charities to support the relief effort, but much of it is yet to reach charities. 

“This money was always too little, and it is now also too late to stop charities from being forced to scale back front-line services at a time when they are never more needed. 

“The government needs to act urgently to increase funding to charities and civil society groups in order to reduce the risk of further harm being caused to people and communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

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