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‘Not for profit’ job losses ‘worse than’ Charity Commission figures 18.03.09

Unite, the largest union in the country, believes that the picture for charities, particularly job losses, is bleaker than the latest Charity Commission research reveals.

The Charity Commission’s Economic Survey of Charities, released today (Tuesday, 17 March), reports that 52 per cent of the charities surveyed have been affected by the financial downturn; of these, 58 per cent have experienced a decrease in income.

Rachael Maskell, Unite’s national officer, Community and Non Profit Sector, said: "The reports we are receiving from our officers and reps on the ground reveal the picture is considerably bleaker than the commission’s findings.

Rachael Maskell called for the Office of the Third Sector, the government department responsible for the country’s 170,000 charities, to do more detailed research into the current state of job losses and the knock-on effects for services to clients.

She said: "What happens is that job losses are being disguised by so-called ‘reorganisations’ and ‘restructuring’. 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.

"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."

Rachael Maskell said that the government’s £42 million bail-out for recession-hit charities, earlier this year, did not make any provision for employment support, but was concentrated on such schemes as volunteering and a modernisation fund.

"The sector employs 600,000 staff and the services they provide during this recession, especially in areas such as housing and employment advice, and relationship counselling need greater financial support from the government."

Unite represents over 60,000 members in the third sector.

Peter Shield

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