Scottish charities hit by cuts and growing demand

Image caption Scottish charities face growing demand for their services despite a drop in income

Voluntary organisations in Scotland saw their income fall by almost £100m last year, according to new research.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations said some groups were having to dip into their reserves to keep services open.

The body said as many charities faced budget cuts they were also having to deal with an increase in demand for their services.

It has called on ministers to commit to longer term funding agreements.

The SCVO said income for charities fell by £96m in 2010, with some of that drop a direct result of public spending cuts - some councils have cut funding for local groups.

More than 270 voluntary groups responded to the survey.

Better deal

Four out of 10 organisations said they had to dip into their reserves because they were spending more than they received.

Three quarters of them expected demand for their services to continue to grow over the next year.

The SCVO said the government and other public sector bodies that provide money should commit to making longer term arrangements to help provide some stability.

Martin Sime, SCVO chief executive, said: "Confidence in the third sector is low despite the fact that politically the third sector is becoming more prominent and its role in public services is being promoted.

"The sector can't perform without a degree of stability so in this difficult climate the case for three to five year funding agreements is even stronger.

"Voluntary organisations need a new and better deal from the public sector which delivers on the high level of rhetorical support. Local government in particular needs to start doing things differently."

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