Unite offers bleak warning on sector's financial state

Outlook is worse than Charity Commission suggests, says union

Trade union Unite has warned that the third sector's financial position could be "considerably bleaker" than the Charity Commission's research suggests.

The union, which represents more than 60,000 third sector members, said anecdotal evidence pointed to the situation being much worse than the commission's latest survey, published yesterday, says it is. The regulator's research showed that 52 per cent of charities had been affected by the economic downturn and 58 per cent of those had seen a fall in income (Third Sector Online, 17 March).

Rachael Maskell, national officer for the community and non-profit sector at Unite, said jobs had gradually been disappearing in the sector.

"The reports we are receiving from our officers and reps on the ground reveal the picture is considerably bleaker than the commission's findings," she said.

"When the commission reports that 32 per cent of charities say they have taken steps to combat the effects of the downturn, this can be translated into more people being thrown out of work.

"When one funding stream for a small charity is not replaced, one or two jobs are lost. The ‘drip-drip' effect is becoming a flood."

Maskell called on the Office of the Third Sector to carry out research into the scale of job losses across the charity world.

Andy Ricketts recommends

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