Cancer Research UK cut pay and working hours by 20 per cent

The charity made the temporary reduction over the summer as part of a drive to make savings because of the coronavirus pandemic

Pay and working hours for all staff at Cancer Research UK was cut by one-fifth last year as it looked to mitigate the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest accounts for the UK’s biggest fundraising charity, for the year to the end of March 2020, show total income fell by £16m compared with the previous 12 months, to £656m.

Total expenditure was down by more than £80m to £703.6m, but this still left the charity with a deficit of £48m.

Spending on charitable activities fell 13 per cent to £511m, while spending on research was reduced by £73m to £468m.

CRUK’s latest accounts show it placed all staff on a temporary cut in pay and working hours of 20 per cent between May and August as it looked to make operational cost savings in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

It has also furloughed all of its shop staff and a quarter of all non-trading staff.

The charity announced in April that it would have to furlough 40 per cent of its staff as a result of the pandemic.

In July it went on to unveil a new three-year strategy that included cutting the size of its workforce by a quarter, and revealed it would have to reduce its spending on research by £150m over the next four to five years.

Income from trading also fell, by just under £1m to £108m, after the charity’s 600 shops closed in March due to first national lockdown.

CRUK does not expect its income to return to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2023/24.

Its business plan highlights the need for a new operating model that will include further reductions in its annual research expenditure and its information and influencing network, together with major operational savings in all areas of the charity. 

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK said: “We took immediate and decisive action in response to Covid-19, to reduce costs. We moved?all of?our staff to 80 per cent pay, furloughed 60 per cent of staff and cut £44m from our research."

Mitchell said that without additional financial support the charity would need to make major cuts to its research budget every year for the next four to five 5 years, amounting to £150m less per year by 2024 than originally planned.

“Cancer Research UK will be reducing the size of its workforce by 500 roles, not including trading," she said.

"The recruitment freeze that was put in place as an early response to Covid-19 will reduce the impact on existing staff. We had forecast making 295 to 345 redundancies not including trading, but as a result of staff turnover, are hoping this will be significantly less.

“We currently have approximately 2,000 staff on the furlough scheme. We’ll continue to utilise the furlough scheme where it is appropriate to do so and where we have staff whose workload is significantly impacted by Covid-19 safety measures or other lockdown rules, such as events and trading.”

- This article was updated on 9 February after the charity clarified that the pay cut was temporary

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