Welwyn Hatfield Council slashes charity funding

FUNDING for charities is being slashed by �75,000 – more than DOUBLE the original gloomy estimation.

As reported in the Welwyn Hatfield Times last week, Welwyn Hatfield borough councillors were set to discuss how to cut �30,000 worth of grants dished out each year to charitable organisations.

But the news got even worse at Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s grants board, when it was announced the figure actually coming off the budget for 2011/12 would be to the tune of �75,000.

It consigns the nine charities who had applied for cash with just �265,680 to share between them. They had asked for nearly �400,000.

The small grants fund has been savagely cut back from �47,980 to just �14,980.

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And the council’s own Queen’s Golden Jubilee Awards pot will be halved, to �5,000.

Bob Jewell, director of finance and operations at the council, said the reason for upping the cutbacks was due to an anticipated “deterioration in the financial standing of the council”.

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A council spokeswoman added: “The board recommended that each existing annual grant bid received a reduction in funding.

“By taking this approach, organisations that have been supported by the council previously will still receive some support.

“However, unfortunately this cannot be maintained at the previous rate.”

Cllr Irene Dean, chairman of the grants panel, said: “The Government is presently deciding how to reduce the grants given to councils nationwide, as part of the national austerity drive to reduce the country’s deficit.

“As such, the council must plan ahead for a possible reduction in future financing.

“Savings must, therefore, be made across the council’s services and from other outgoings, which must unfortunately include grant support for organisations and individuals.”

The final decision will be agreed by the cabinet in January, when the budget is set and agreed.

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