No government, no budget!
Budget uncertainty and instability is already hitting the voluntary and community sector says Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).
NICVA’s Funding Watch survey shows the consequences of political uncertainty and lack of an agreed budget is already impacting on services provided by the voluntary and community sector.
The results of NICVA’s survey, released this month, show that:
* 88% of respondents that receive statutory funding have received no confirmation of this funding for their services after March and believe this funding is at risk.
*43% said they would expect losing this funding to result in redundancies and nearly one third (31%) have already put staff on notice of potential redundancy.
Nearly one in ten reported that funding cuts to their organisations for next financial year had already been confirmed.
Seamus McAleavey NICVA’s Chief Executive said: “As we continue to wait to see what happens next the lack of an agreed Northern Ireland budget requires immediate action. There is major concern that the current period of political uncertainty and the lack of an agreed budget for the next financial year is already impacting on the voluntary and community sector and the vital services it provides for people across Northern Ireland”.
This is over £500 million of public services in areas like mental health, health prevention, children, support to vulnerable people and end of life care for example.
NICVA fears that, even before any further cuts are confirmed, the current uncertainty on funding for next year will be extremely damaging to organisations seeking to provide continuity of services and retain worried staff.
NICVA is therefore urging our politicians and government officials to work to give clarity to the question of the future funding for the services which voluntary and community organisations provide, as soon as possible.
There is no more time to be lost and there must be certainty about next year’s budget.