London Councils urged to rethink cut to borough grants scheme

London Voluntary Service Council and the Voluntary Sector Forum say maintaining this funding should be a priority

Peter Lewis, the chief executive of LVSC
Peter Lewis, the chief executive of LVSC

London Voluntary Service Council and the Voluntary Sector Forum network are calling on London Councils to rethink plans to reduce its voluntary sector grants programme by £16.5m over two years.

The grants committee at London Councils, which represents London’s 33 local authorities, last week voted to reduce the size of its £26.4m London borough grants scheme by almost two-thirds.

The budget will fall to £17.6m in 2011/12. A heavier reduction had been feared but councillors agreed to award transitional funding to give organisations time to adapt.

The budget for the following year will decline to £9.9m if no further transitional funding is awarded.

If the changes are ratified by the council’s leaders committee on 14 December more than 200 voluntary organisations will lose funding. They include Age Concern London, the Prince’s Trust and Barnardo’s.

Borough councils will be free to use the saved funds for any purpose they want.

Peter Lewis, the chief executive of LVSC, said: "This scheme was set up to help the poorest Londoners through targeted London-wide programmes meeting identified need.

"At a time of cuts to key public services, London Councils should be prioritising funding for this programme, which serves some of the most disadvantaged Londoners. Leaders should not be retaining funds to fill potholes in their own boroughs."

Front-line services supporting children and young people, the homeless and people at risk of crime could end if the cuts go ahead.

Sam Mauger, the chair of VSF, which represents voluntary organisations funded by London Councils, said: "London Councils is dismantling a scheme that has been a beacon of excellent delivery to London’s communities."

Steve Bullock, chair of the grants committee, said transition funding "would allow boroughs more time to establish which servives they should continue to fund and give them flexibility to decide what will work best in their own local areas".


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