Oxfam GB reports a £67m drop in income

The charity says the fall was mainly due to it having an exceptional income from legacies in the previous year, which was about three times the norm

Oxfam GB’s income fell by more than £67m last year, leaving the poverty relief charity with a £17m deficit.

The charity’s accounts for the year to 31 March 2020 show that total income fell from £434.1m to £367.4m, with total spending down from £397.5m to £384.6m.

The charity said this was due to several factors, including a challenging year on the high street and changing patterns in charitable giving.

The latest accounts paint a markedly different picture to last year, when the charity reported record income. This was driven by a trebling of legacies to £54m, which was likely mainly down one exceptionally large gift.

Legacy income fell to £17.5m this year, which the charity’s accounts said was in line with its historical average, and income from governments, institutional donors and other public authorities was down by £17.4m to £168.5m.

Trading income from its 600 shops rose slightly in 2019/20, from £92.8m to £93.5m, although the charity expects the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the high street this year will have a significant impact on income over the next year.

As a result the charity said it completed an organisational restructure that began in April to reduce costs and launched new retail and fundraising strategies.

Staff levels fell from 5,101 to 5,033 in the year to 31 March, and £1.4m was paid out in redundancy costs – £700,000 less than in 2018/19.

In 2019/20 Oxfam investigated 73 safeguarding incidents, seven fewer than in the previous year. 

Fifty-three of these cases were from its international programmes and 20 from its trading operation in the UK.

Of the total, 15 resulted in dismissals, and seven were referred to local authorities or the police. Two are ongoing.

Danny Sriskandarajah, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said: “Covid-19 compounded the challenges we were already facing, and we had to close our shops and cancel major fundraising events.

“We are confident that our new strategy and the cost savings we have introduced – combined with the generosity of donors, partners and supporters – will enable us to be more effective.”

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