Cuts Watch #359: Spending cuts hit charities hard
The Herald Scotland reports that charities are being hit by job losses as the scale of the impact of central and local government cutbacks on Scotland’s voluntary sector begins to become clear.
Cuts announced to date include:
- Last week staff at Apex Scotland, a charity which works with ex-offenders, wrote to its employees (around 60 people) to warn them that between one-third and a half of their jobs were to go, as a direct result of Coalition cuts to Government employment programmes.
- The Scottish Refugee Council will confirm shortly that 44 of its 59 workers have been told that they are at risk of redundancy as it seeks to shed 28% of its staff as a result of cuts to contracts it has with the UK Border Agency.
- The umbrella group Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations informed employees on Friday that it is to make 23 of its 132 staff redundant.
- Citizens Advice Scotland is also thought to be planning to announce a redundancy programme next week.
About 45,000 voluntary organisations across Scotland employ more than 130,000 professionally paid staff. If cuts on the scale being considered by these charities were applied across the sector, tens of thousands of jobs could be lost, one insider has warned. The proportion of staff affected within the sector is also high and this reinforces fears that charities are set to face the brunt of the cuts.
The job losses come against a background of charities facing further pressure from councils to make efficiency savings under existing contracts. However, Annie Gunner Logan, of Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland, said that in many cases such savings had already been taken as far as they could. Research commissioned by the Voluntary Sector Social Services Workforce unit shows that nearly 60% of providers in the sector have implemented a pay freeze in the last three years and more than 80% have been unable to match the cost-of-living increases awarded by councils to their own staff during the same period.