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British charities worry over funding cuts

LONDON, June 7 (UPI) -- Charitable and voluntary organizations in Britain say they're likely to be hit by cuts in public funding even harder than previously thought.

Research initiated by the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council found about one-third of the country's charitable organizations receive public money to support their work and more than 20,000 organizations say the public sector is their most important source of income, a council release said Tuesday.

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"It is very clear that public funding is more important to voluntary organizations than previously thought," John Mohan of the Third Sector Research Centre, who led the study, said. "And this is particularly true for those organizations working in deprived areas and with disadvantaged people.

"What is concerning about these figures is how much these organizations rely on public expenditure, and that many of them work in fields that, historically, have attracted little charitable funding."

Previous research into public funding found it to be concentrated in a small number of large organizations, with two-thirds of organizations with income above $8 million receiving public funding while organizations whose income is under $16,000 per year are much less likely to draw on public sector funding, researchers say.

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"The picture is complex," Mohan said. "And there is no straightforward answer as to how public expenditure reductions will affect individual charities or localities."

Policymakers need to carefully consider the effects of government cuts over the next few years as the organizations that rely most heavily on public funding are those working with the most disadvantaged people and in the most deprived areas, the study concluded.

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