Number of high earners at Comic Relief has more than halved

The latest accounts show that 12 people were paid more than £60,000 in the year to 31 July 2018, compared with 30 the year before

Comic Relief's latest accounts
Comic Relief's latest accounts

The number of higher earners at Comic Relief has almost halved as part of a restructure of the charity’s workforce, the latest accounts show.

The accounts for the year to 31 July 2018 show that once people receiving redundancy payments are excluded from the figures, the number of people earning more than £60,000 a year at the charity fell from 30 to 12.

Redundancy payments for the year were £1.3m, the accounts say.

A spokesman for the charity said the reduction in the number of high earners at the charity reflected a "year of transformation with a number of redundancies and recruitment into new roles", which affected the reportable numbers.

Staff numbers at the charity also fell, from 295 to 240, according to the accounts.

In her introduction to the accounts, Liz Warner, chief executive of Comic Relief, said the changes were made to bring greater digital expertise to the charity and to develop new sources of income.

"To do this we needed to adapt and develop our structure, skills and ways of working to ensure we are in the best shape for future progression – from driving digital opportunities to engaging more creatively with partners, fundraisers and supporters," Warner’s introduction to the accounts says.

"This meant saying goodbye to a number of long-standing colleagues."

Income at Comic Relief has fallen too, from £104.7m to £65.1m, according to the accounts, reflecting the fact that the accounts cover a Sport Relief year, rather than one including the more lucrative Red Nose Day.

Red Nose Day and Sport Relief both take place once every two years, with each running in a different year to the other.

Red Nose Day generally raises more money for the charity than Sport Relief, having achieved on-the-night totals of £78m, £71m and £63.5m in 2015, 2017 and 2019 respectively, with far higher final amounts.

Sport Relief raised £38.2m on the night last year, £17m less than in 2016.

The final total of £42.8m cited in the latest accounts was also significantly down on the £72.5m the 2016 Sport Relief campaign raised.

Warner said in her introduction to the accounts that the fall in income from Sports Relief could be explained partly harsh weather conditions on the day and a clash with an England football match on another TV channel.

The accounts show that the decline in income because it was a Sports Relief year also meant that spending fell at the charity from £98.6m to £65.7m.

Once gains on the charity’s investments were accounted for, this gave a net income of £15m, according to the accounts.

Net assets also increased, from £116.9m to £131.9m.

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