Northern Ireland's earned income up by a half over 1998

Earned income for the Northern Irish voluntary sector has increased by over a half since 1998, according to a new report from the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).

The report found that charities and community groups have received about £154 million in earned income in 2000/2001, compared with £99 million in 1998.

This is attributed to a shift in funding for the sector, including an increase in charity contracts and a 25 per cent decrease in government funding. NICVA ascribes this to a shakedown from devolution and increased levels of scrutiny and accountability by the Government into charity funding.

The report also found a 9.6 per cent increase in overall income from 1998 to £657 million in 2000/2001.

More than 4.5 per cent of the Northern Ireland work force is employed in the voluntary sector.

Gordon McCullogh, head of research at NICVA, said: "This report shows that the voluntary sector is a sizeable economic force in Northern Ireland."

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