London charities urge Chancellor to increase local authority funding

Thirty voluntary sector organisations have written to Philip Hammond, saying cuts to the public sector have had a knock-on effect on charities

Charities and funders in London have today urged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to increase local authority funding in the government's next spending review to prevent the sustainability of London’s voluntary sector coming into "serious doubt".

Thirty London-based voluntary sector organisations signed a letter to Philip Hammond expressing concern about the knock-on effects of recent public sector cuts on charities.

London Councils, which represents London's 32 borough councils and the City of London, contacted organisations in the capital asking them to sign the letter.

Signatories include the Advice Services Alliance, Age UK London, London Funders, St Mungo's and Women's Aid.

The letter says that since 2010 core funding to London boroughs has fallen by 63 per cent while the city's population has increased by one million.

"London boroughs’ precarious situation has rippled out to affect the capital’s voluntary sector and the people we work with," it says.

"It has reduced boroughs’ capacity to support charities and voluntary groups but, more crucially, it has led a larger number of Londoners to turn to the voluntary sector with more severe and complex needs."

"We are therefore asking you to prioritise greater investment in local public services at the next spending review."

Paul Goulden, chief executive of Age UK London, said the government needed to recognise the contributions of local voluntary organisations and how much they depended on public funding.

"The current funding pressures bring the sustainability of London’s voluntary sector into serious doubt, which could place thousands of vulnerable older Londoners at risk," he said.

"This is a matter of great urgency."

Howard Sinclair, chief executive of the homelessness charity St Mungo’s, said its research had identified a "£1bn-a-year funding gap for homelessness services in England" and the spending review should "put the money back and turn the tide of rising homelessness".

Philip Glanville, chair of London Councils’ grants committee, said: "The strength of feeling among our voluntary sector partners about the damage done by a decade of funding reductions to local government is incredibly strong.

"It is worrying to hear how difficult they are finding it to keep going, especially given the growing level of need for their services in London.

"It is clear that we urgently need a long-term, sustainable funding settlement for London’s councils."

Giving evidence to the Treasury Committee in April, Hammond said: "It is the government’s intention to carry out a spending review in 2019, which will be an opportunity to look at priorities across the whole arena of public spending."

A Treasury spokesman said the department had nothing to add to Hammond's statement.

The letter can be read here.

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