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‘Economic ice age’ to batter UK charities

Charities will struggle to fill the gaps left by public service cuts, Dame Suzi Leather, the chair of the Charity Commission, warned yesterday.

Dame Suzi warned that although “in political terms, this sector has arrived” with the coalition Government's “big society” pledge, many charities faced an uncertain future as they struggled to survive “the economic ice-age”.

She told a charities conference in central London: “So we have a Government that says it's committed to developing the sector. That's on the one hand. On the other hand we have the cuts. The Prime Minister himself confirmed this week that the spending reductions we face will ‘affect our whole way of life'. The way of life for charities will have to change along with everyone else's.”

Charities have reported growing concern about the continuing economic downturn. A survey conducted by the commission in September 2008 found that just under 40% of charities had been negatively affected. But by March this year nearly 60% of charities reported being affected.

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