Half of Yorkshire’s charities and voluntary groups set to shed staff

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NEARLY half the charities and voluntary groups in Yorkshire are expecting to reduce staff numbers over the coming weeks as funding cuts bite, a new study suggests.

Almost 50 per cent of the “third sector” organisations which responded to a survey by Involve Yorkshire and Humber – an umbrella group representing charities across the region – said they were planning to reduce their workforce over the next three months to help to cut their costs.

The study represents yet another blow to David Cameron’s Big Society project, with critics having warned for months that cuts to local authority budgets would have a fatal knock-on effect for many charities which rely on councils for much of their funding.

Involve said last year that thousands of voluntary-sector jobs could be lost in the region if the Government pushed ahead with savage cuts to local authority budgets.

Chief executive Judy Robinson said: “As the Government has made more announcements and the extent of the spending cuts has been revealed, the confidence of the sector has plummeted.

“The cuts are really beginning to take their toll on the voluntary sector in Yorkshire, and yet the sector is being called upon to deliver more public services.”

Involve said its research showed the funding cuts were coming at a time when charities expected to deliver more public services.

Many are still waiting for final confirmation of their funding from local authorities for the financial year which began this week.

Andrea Hobbs of Ryedale Voluntary Action said: “We still haven’t had our funding confirmed – we know there will be cuts, but we don’t know exactly how much.

“We’ve already agreed to cut staff hours to try to reduce costs.”