Chancellor says government should not ring-fence funding for voluntary sector

George Osborne tells a Norwood charity event that protecting cash for the sector would mean the budget deficit would never be "eliminated"

Chancellor George Osborne with Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein
Chancellor George Osborne with Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein

The government should not ring-fence funding for the voluntary sector because doing so would hinder its ability to pay off the budget deficit, according to the Chancellor George Osborne.

During a question-and-answer session at an event hosted by the learning disability charity Norwood last night, Osborne was asked whether he thought there was a case for the government to ring-fence its funding for charities.

"We've tried to protect the voluntary sector, but I don't think you can ring-fence it," he said. "You can't ring-fence everything because you'll never eliminate the deficit if you do."

Osborne said he hoped charities would be able to increase their non-statutory income. "A lot of charities have already been successful in upping their fundraising efforts," he told attendees.

At the event, a Norwood spokeswoman said that the charity now faced a 20 per cent cut in its local authority funding for next year. She said Norwood had an annual shortfall of £4m and was planning to reduce its spending by £3m per year, and raise an extra £1m per year from donations.

The charity has been considering a proposal to cut the salaries of some of its staff in order to deal with the situation.

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