The services that UK charities provide to thousands of the country’s most vulnerable people could be decimated, as reports mount that the government wants to cut £320 million from the Big Lottery Fund.
Unite, the country’s largest union with 60,000 members in the not for profit sector, branded such a move as ‘the big robbery at the Big Lottery’.
Unite said that ministers need to come clean about their ‘sleight of hand’ intentions on the eve of the government’s spending review announcement tomorrow (Wednesday 25 November).
Projects that could be in the financial firing line include young people's mental health interventions, women's refuge projects and food banks, which currently attract more than a million visits a year.
It is understood that the money will go to the heritage, arts and sports distributers to make up for ‘austerity’ cuts by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – contrary to a founding principle of the lottery by John Major’s administration that lottery cash should not be used as a substitute for government spending.
Unite national officer for the not for profit sector Sally Kosky said: “This is Robin Hood in reverse, masked highwayman George Osborne robbing from the poor to give tax breaks to the wealthy.
“David Cameron has made much of his so-called Big Society vision, but here he is acting as an accomplice heaping on misery to those that have been knocked sideways by savage cuts to working tax credits, unemployment and homelessness – the very people who seek assistance from charities.
“Journalists need to look at the small print of the spending review documents to discover the scale of the big robbery being perpetuated by the chancellor on the charitable sector.
“Charities are often the last resort for the vulnerable and they won’t be able to withstand the tsunami of cuts to services that a £320 million loss of funding will entail.”
Unite is the union with the majority of members at the Fund.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.