Local services will disappear if cuts are made, warns NCVO 04/09/09

Voluntary sector umbrella organisation, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has today warned that vital local services could disappear overnight if the voluntary sector is seen as an easy target for government cuts.

This would have a devastating effect on local communities across the UK.

The State and the Voluntary Sector – Recent trends in government funding and public service delivery published today shows just how significant public service delivery by the voluntary sector on behalf of the government is, with sector income from statutory sources totalling £12bn.

Although this only accounts for 2% of the UK government’s expenditure on public services; the fear is that the sector could be seen as a soft target for cuts.

The report delves deeper to reveal what the true cost of cuts would mean for local areas.

Around 25,000 voluntary organisations receive over three-quarters of their income from statutory sources to deliver crucial services in social care, employment and training, law and advocacy, education and housing. If this funding is cut it would have catastrophic consequences for the well-being of communities.

Voluntary sector organisations providing social services receive a much larger amount of statutory income than any other sub sector, totalling £4.2bn.

Voluntary sector organisations working within employment and training receive over two-thirds (71%) of their overall income from statutory sources, equating to nearly £1bn. Nearly half of the organisations in this sub-sector have some sort of funding relationship with government and are therefore fairly reliant on statutory funding.

In addition four sub-sectors receive over half of their income from statutory services, these being law and advocacy (54%), education (52%), housing (51%) and social services (51%).

Stuart Etherington, CEO, NCVO said: “Public sector funders must avoid a knee jerk reaction. Ill thought out cuts would ravage communities across the UK. When developing spending plans, government – nationally and locally - must understand the vital contribution projects run by voluntary and community organisations make.

"These services are not just nice add-ons; they are critical to the well-being of communities across the UK.”

Phil Collis, project manager, TLC Care Services, said: “If our contracts were removed it would leave stroke victims in those boroughs unable to access the high quality care and support they need once they have been discharged from hospital care.”

John Mckernaghan, manager at the Brunswick Centre, added: “If government income was cut it would seriously limit services. However the number of service users won’t reduce even if the income does. As our work takes pressure off statutory services the onward effect on other services including mental health and sexual health services would be considerable and users would suffer.”

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