Targeted giveaways risk creating a hierarchy of charities

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August 28, 2015 at 17:58

Successive budgets over the last and current parliament have introduced targeted giveaways to charities through both Libor fines and VAT rebates. These funds have gone to selected organisations including military charities, rescue services, and youth organisations. Whilst this funding is very much welcome to those charities that receive it and their beneficiaries, such giveaways are becoming a worrying trend and risk categorising the sector into worthy and less worthy organisations, as deemed by the government of the day. Charity is personal… Simply put: a person’s decision whether or not to donate to charity and which cause to support will come down […]

The time for ‘rational optimism’ – A response to Matt Ridley

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August 19, 2015 at 10:19

Another week and another article from a national newspaper calling for a ‘radical’ rethink about the charity sector (or a ‘radical cleansing’) as Viscount Ridley put it. It’s certainly been a tough few months for charities which have seen considerable scrutiny about how they operate. Although it can be uncomfortable at times, we should always welcome public debate into how charities work and the activities that they undertake. However, while we should welcome scrutiny, we should not be afraid to combat misconceptions about the sector. Public understanding and trust in charities will not be enhanced if we do not correct […]

What’s the risk? Implications of the summer budget for housing associations

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July 22, 2015 at 11:00

The CFG team have recently been thinking about risk – risks in supply chains, cyber security risks and so on – and it is risk that forms the focus of this month’s Economic Outlook Briefing which will be published on 28th July. In the publication, my colleague Andrew O’Brien highlights that charities are particularly affected by government policy. Reading his article got me thinking about two particular policies introduced in the Summer Budget delivered by the Chancellor earlier this month: the extension of Right to Buy (RtB) to housing association properties and the reduction in social housing rents. Housing associations […]

Financial sustainability won’t be easy for the charity sector

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July 22, 2015 at 09:48

Today, has seen the launch of the review into the financial sustainability of the voluntary sector, conducted by CFG, NCVO, Institute of Fundraising, Locality, NAVCA and Small Charities Coalition. It has been a long piece of work, involving a call for evidence from the voluntary sector, with more than 100 charities responding to a detailed survey; pouring over existing statistics, synthesising various strands of research and forecasting the future of the sector’s finances. The full report, which you can download here, is a wakeup call for the charity sector, government and funders. Although the economy appears on the road to […]

We can’t ignore the charity sector’s financial situation

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July 13, 2015 at 15:34

Our sector has had a few days to recover from the decisions outlined in the Chancellor’s Budget last week. Although charities were not the focus, the decisions taken within it are going to have a big impact on our operating environment for the coming five years. Often we talk about the issues facing the sector in isolation; however, this is not how charities will experience them. It seems likely that over the next few years three things are going to put considerable pressure on already fragile financial situation: 1)    More cuts in government income, both grants and contracts 2)    Increasing […]

Welfare and employment dominate the Budget: What does this mean for charities?

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July 8, 2015 at 14:59

So we didn’t do that well with our bingo card – only ‘long term economic plan’, ‘£9 minimum wage target’, ‘fixing the roof whilst the sun is shining’ and the name dropping of a charity came up. Whilst the budget report does not have a section dedicated to the charity sector, there are a number of measures announced that will have an impact on charity finance which I will outline here. Keep an eye out for our briefing which will be posted on our website in due course. Profile of the cuts £17 billion of cuts were announced in today’s […]

What’s the latest data on charity sector income and expenditure?

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June 10, 2015 at 10:26

The UK Civil Society Almanac 2015 is here and as ever provides a wealth of valuable data. I’ve had a read through and drawn out what I think are some of the key findings for people interested in charity finance.

Transparency: Finding the right balance

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June 6, 2014 at 16:31

I am currently enjoying the warm glow of the success of our Annual Conference. The CFG team pulled off an absolute blinder in my view. Not only did we have the largest number of bookings to date (over 700), but also the quality of the speakers, the delivery of the day and atmosphere were just superb! In particular, it is worth mentioning the closing plenary. There’s no doubt it could have gone on longer, but to have the Minister (Nick Hurd) and Shadow Minister (Lisa Nandy) for Civil Society, a key Lib Dem peer (Baroness Barker), the Chair of the […]

Little good news for charities in 2013 Spending Review

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June 27, 2013 at 09:11

There was little cause for optimism for the charity sector in the Government’s 2013 Spending Review, with a few niche giveaways overshadowed by more details on planned welfare reforms and further cuts to local government. What’s it all about? The 2013 Spending Review divided up a pre-determined amount of spending between departments for the 2015/16 financial year, aiming to make total savings of £11.5bn on 2014/15. It also outlined future changes to ‘annually managed expenditure’, which is made up largely of welfare and debt interest payments and accounts for just over half of total government expenditure. This round of cuts […]

CFG Annual Conference 2013 opening plenary speaker Matthew Taylor hints at his upcoming speech…

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May 2, 2013 at 07:53

It is always dangerous for me to describe what I plan to say in a speech ahead of delivering it. As my father once said to me ‘I don’t know what I think until I hear myself say it’. When I was asked to speak at the CFG conference, the organisers referred to a blog post I had written on farming. In this I had argued that interest groups – like the farming lobby – often face a choice between three types of narrative: ‘we’re facing crisis’; ‘we’re being faced with a crucial/terrible choice’; or ‘we are the best answer […]