FINANCE NEWS: SPCA cuts quarter of workforce in bid to slash outgoings

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals plans to cut a quarter of its workforce and close some animal welfare centres because of a financial crisis.

The charity had a deficit of £3.2 million last year and is facing a £2 million deficit in 2003.

"In the past, we would have funded the deficit from reserves, but those have been depleted because of the fall in stock markets," said chief executive Ian Gardiner.

He added that at a time when stock markets were falling, the charity's spending had increased.

"We've been hit by an 80 per cent increase in insurance costs, higher staff costs and now a rise in national insurance contributions."

SPCA also had to put an extra £1 million last year into its pension fund because falling financial markets had tipped the scheme into deficit.

A report to the charity's board at the end of this month will recommend that 60 of its 235 staff should be made redundant.

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