BHF income rose to record high of £338m last year

Its accounts for the year to 31 March also show expenditure rising significantly, to £366.9m, leaving the charity with a deficit of £26.7m

British Heart Foundation's annual report and accounts
British Heart Foundation's annual report and accounts

The British Heart Foundation’s income rose last year by £10m to a record high of £338m, the charity’s latest accounts show.

The accounts for the year to 31 March, filed with Companies House this week, show the rise in income was mostly due to a significant increase in trading income, which rose from £187.8m to £194.9m.

Expenditure also rose significantly, to £366.9m, compared with £330m the previous year. The charity posted a total deficit for the year of £26.7m once other recognised gains and losses were taken into account.

The accounts say that the increased expenditure was part of a policy to spend the charity’s reserves on research grants, because it had total cash and investments of almost £300m.

"Our strategic plans assume the excess will reduce over the medium term as we are currently awarding total research grants at a level above our net income generated after non-research charitable spend," the accounts say about the reserves.

"Consequently, a short-dated corporate bond portfolio is held to ensure that the net cash requirement to settle this commitment over the relevant time period is secure."

The charity had almost 400 more staff in 2018/19 than in 2017/18, with spending on salaries rising from £75.8m to £86.5m.

The highest earner was Simon Gillespie, the charity’s chief executive, on £211,000.

In his introduction to the accounts, Gillespie, says the charity was looking into collaborating with other charities, the government and other research funders to address shortfalls in funding for research into heart disease.

"We know research is the answer, but there is a significant shortfall in the UK’s investment in research given that 7.4 million people in the UK are living with the burden of these diseases," he writes.

"Our strategy makes clear what needs to happen to redress this. Over the next 10 years, we will invest at least £1bn in life-saving, world class, high-impact research into heart and circulatory diseases and the risk factors which cause them."

Gillespie announced earlier this year that he would stand down from his role by the end of this year.

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