Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Tough times lie ahead for all our charities

With cuts looming, we need to become even more generous givers

    Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are traditionally a period when most of us are mindful of the need and obligation of tzedakah.

    It may be that many of us who do not give throughout the year are moved to do so in the lead up to the Yomim Noraim but, as someone who runs a major charitable organisation, I can see only too clearly the need to focus on charitable giving throughout the year.

    Our communal charities know that we are the fortunate beneficiaries of an incredibly generous Jewish community; however, the community's needs are significant and are only likely to increase. Charities exist to provide services that the state cannot or does not provide - particularly when it comes to the provision of specifically culturally sensitive services such as Jewish old people's homes. Yet it seems that the charitable sector is going to be expected to take on more and more of the financial burden.

    Local authority support, even before the impact of the much talked about cuts, is already eroding year on year. For example, local authorities which provide care in communal care homes are, in many cases, not taking into account any annual cost-of-living increases. As it is, the local authority funding received by the care home does not cover the costs associated with any particular resident. The situation is likely to get worse with local government hints of "difficult times ahead".

    Could this mean we are being softened up not merely for zero increases each year but possible decreases?

    Bequests will fall as people will need to keep the cash for themselves

    In the case of a charity, if the value of statutory income declines there is only one other place from which the money can come from - and that is in the form of charitable giving by the community. Is it reasonable to expect the community to carry on giving at ever-increasing levels? Unfortunately, this has been another case of "too little, too late" from the government. The increase in life expectancy has been a gradual and continuous trend over decades but little seems to have been done by central government to prepare for this.

    An important source of income for many communal charities - though not one that can be budgeted for - is charitable bequests. Some charities have experienced a decline in the number of such bequests, and ultimately it is likely that the value of such legacies will also decrease. This is due to an increasing number of older people in the community and society at large who need the wealth they have accumulated to help support them throughout their much longer old age. Let us not forget that neither central nor local government will support anybody in care if they have more than the current cut-off level of £23,250. As this includes capital wealth, it affects the majority of our community.

    Charities need to be aware of the difficult times ahead and be shaping up to cope with them. Our aim must be to reduce the shortfall between local authority funding and the true cost of running our charities. The New Year promises to be challenging for all our communal charities but our absolute priority must be to ensure that the exceptional quality of care we deliver to those in need is not compromised.

Blogs

Pesach breakfast ideas

The Fresser

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pesach breakfast ideas
Comment

10 resolutions for anxious liberals

Edie Friedman

Friday, December 30, 2016

10 resolutions for anxious liberals
Comment

When it comes to rabbis, who is really in charge?

Miriam Shaviv

Thursday, December 1, 2016

When it comes to rabbis, who is really in charge?
Blogs

Fressing at the launch of Emma Spitzer's book, ...

The Fresser

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fressing at the launch of Emma Spitzer's book, ...
Comment

Year in review: USA 2016

Jonathan Cummings

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Year in review: USA 2016
Comment

No community has a monopoly on abuse

Sandy Rashty

Thursday, December 1, 2016

No community has a monopoly on abuse
Comment

Breaking out of the bubble in India

Eli Baigel

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Breaking out of the bubble in India
Features

Year in review: the arts 2016

Keren David

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Year in review: the arts 2016
Comment

Hamilton shows us immigrants can get a shot

Erica Brown

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hamilton shows us immigrants can get a shot