Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Homeless charities gear up for cuts

November 01 2010
The axe will fall, but it‘s not yet clear where

Homeless charities have been bracing themselves for budget cuts ahead of the government's Comprehensive Spending Review on 20 October.

Charities including St Mungo's, Novas Scarman and Connection at St Martin's all voiced concerns about possible funding cuts but could not say which services might be hit.

Speaking to The Pavement before the government announced its spending plans, a spokeswoman from St Mungo's said: "Most of our central and local government funders are asking for significant reductions in the grants that they give us. We have been addressing these requests by reviewing the services that we deliver and the way we deliver them to clients."

However, she added that the organisation would know more after details of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) were released on 20 October. "Following this, both central government departments and local authorities will have more certainty about how much they are able to spend on services, and the picture is set to become much clearer," she said.

St Mungo's total income last year was £47.4m, with around £4m from fundraising and the rest coming from local and central government, rents and interest income.

The CSR, which was announced on Wednesday 20 October, set out the government's plans for public spending over the next four years.

Maff Potts, chief executive at charity Novas Scarman, said: "Like everyone in our country, we are aware that cuts are currently on the political agenda.

"Our organisation already has the principles of the Big Society embedded within its values, particularly through our Community Development work.

"We appreciate that cuts will make life difficult for a huge number of people, but Novas Scarman and the services it provides intends to be more visible than ever," he added.

Speaking at a Conservative Party conference fringe session on the Big Society, Stephen Bubb, from the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, warned that it could come down to a choice between street cleaning services and a grant to a local charity. "Councils are going to have to make some very hard choices after October 20," he said.

"I hope local authorities will start also to think about how they deliver things differently. Disruptive change like cuts is often a time for innovation." Confidence in the financial situation of charities is also at a three-year low, according to a new study from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, with 63 per cent of charity leaders predicting that their organisation's financial situation would worsen over the coming year.

But despite the potential cuts, St Mungo's said that more needed to be done, and called for a renewed effort to help long-term rough sleepers off the streets of London. "We need to forge ahead with real urgency to deliver the best services possible in partnership with local authorities and other agencies, especially as cuts start to impact," concluded Charles Fraser, chief executive of St Mungo's.