Cancer Research UK saw its income balloon by almost £37m last year to £671.9m, the second-highest total in its history.
The charity’s latest accounts, which were released today and cover the year to 31 March 2019, show that expenditure rose by almost £121m. The charity posted an overall deficit of £66.2m once gains on investments and pensions were factored in.
This was driven by a £121m increase in spending on charitable activities, the accounts show.
The accounts say that £74m of the increase in expenditure was down to a change in the way the charity awards multi-year research grants.
The grants policy involved removing a three-year progress review for further fundings, which has resulted in five-year grants for research programmes being recognised in full in the most recent accounts, as well as those that received additional payments under the old three-year review system.
The charity says this will allow for a longer-term approach to supporting researchers and the increase in expenditure will be paid for from the charity’s reserves.
Reserves are at £329m, equivalent to almost six months’ spending. The accounts say that the charity will spend down some of its reserves to increase spending on charitable activities.
Rita Akushie, chief financial officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "There’s never been more opportunity to invest in high-quality research into cancer and, reflecting this position of strength and opportunity, we made a decision to invest more of our reserves in our charitable activity over the year.
"We spent a total of £783m, of which £74m reflects the change in our multi-year awards, in order to reduce our reserves. We now recognise multi-year research commitments in full, in the year we award them."
The accounts show that fundraised income rose by £7.7m on 2017/18 to £430.8m, despite a drop in donations.
Legacies increased by £7.1m to a total of £188.6m and income from events rose by £8.2m to reach an overall level of £57.4m. But donations fell by £7.6m to £184.8m.
Trading income increased by £4.7m to £108.7m, with spending on trading hitting £95.4m, an increase of £6.7m increase on 2017/18.
Employee numbers rose by more than 300 to a total of 4,417, according to the accounts.