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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 04:09 PM
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Charities forced to axe thousands of jobs
Charities forced to axe thousands of jobs
Voluntary sector feels crunch as income from donations and bequests falls

By Nigel Morris, Deputy Political Editor

Charities are axeing thousands of jobs to cope with a collapse in donations as the recession deepens.

After years of expansion, the voluntary sector is laying off staff, putting recruitment on hold and scaling back "non-essential" services.

Earnings from investments have also fallen following cuts in interest rates. The value of major bequests has dropped because of tumbling property prices. The redundancies come as charities face greater pressure to help people who have lost their jobs and homes during the economic crisis.

Charities employed just over 500,000 staff in 2000 and the total rose to 624,000 at the end of 2004 and 724,000 last autumn. But new official figures show the number suddenly dropped in the last three months of 2008 to 716,000, the first fall on record for a decade. Voluntary organisations say the trend accelerated in the New Year.

Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office spokeswoman, told The Independent: "These are the first signs that recession-hit charities are being forced to shed jobs just to stay afloat.

"The workload of charities is soaring as the recession pushes more and more people into unemployment and poverty. But at the same time, charitable donations are dropping." Ms Willott, who obtained the figures, added: "Charities are a vital source of support for the most vulnerable people during the recession. If charities fail, we lose yet more jobs as well as losing vital support for the most vulnerable in society."

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