By Max Clarke

The voluntary sector is being disproportionately targeted by local authorities’ cuts programmes, resulting in a ‘funding crisis for charities’, a leading voluntary body has today announced.

Over the entirety of the coalition government’s cuts agenda, voluntary agencies may face cuts of up to £3bn, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) today revealed in their latest report, Counting the Cuts.

“This authoritative research shows that for all the warm words about the Big Society, the government has created a funding crisis for charities with many scaling back or cutting services altogether,” said TUC chief, Brendan Barber.

The March 2011 budget announced a series of cuts to government spending, eroding a major income stream for many organisations; as well as introducing a host of financial incentives to third sector organisations.

A 10% inheritance tax break, as well as a reform of the previous gift-aid scheme, were both introduced in order to facilitate donations from the private sector, whilst simultaneously reducing taxpayer subsidies.

The figures were reached by assuming that the Government will cut the voluntary and community sector on a proportionate basis, but in reality, argue the NCVO, it's possible that the cuts could be much higher. Responses to Freedom of Information requests show that half of all Local Authorities are making disproportionate cuts to the voluntary sector.

We have also asked charities to provide examples of cuts they have faced through our crowdsourcing website, Voluntary Sector Cuts, in collaboration with a number of other infrastructure organisations. Over the last six months, nearly 500 charities have reported cuts worth over £76 million.

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