The Board of Deputies could face a financial shortfall in the coming year, according to predictions based on its latest accounts.
Treasurer Laurence Brass revealed a revised forecast of this year’s budget had shown a “likely deficit”.
He said there was “anxiety” over the funding of specific projects where “third-party donations” had been promised but the money was yet to materialise. There was a danger that the Board could be left “with an unanticipated financial burden”.
Mr Brass revealed details of the accounts for 2012 in a report to be presented to Deputies at a plenary meeting on Sunday. It showed the Board sitting on a surplus of £20,000 — a drop from the previous year when there was a £112,000 surplus.
Mr Brass said the 2012 figure was “satisfying, but with a note of caution”. He warned: “Several years of cost savings have had a positive impact on the figures, but while these will continue in the future, it should not be assumed that there are many more areas in which expenditure can be cut.
Synagogues must work harder to collect contributions
“The future financial health of the Board must therefore depend on increasing income, from the communal levy and from other sources.”
Mr Brass said shortfalls would be covered by specific fundraising initiatives targeting trusts, foundations and private donors who would be asked to support specific aspects of the Board’s work.
“There is no room for complacency — the Board continues to rely significantly on the provision of its overdraft facility to meet its day-to-day expenditure,” he said.
The accounts show that the Board’s key expenditure was on salaries, pensions and national insurance contributions, with £615,000 spent last year, down slightly from 2011.
Conference and meeting expenses were down to £29,000, but deputies’ travel expenses rose £4,000 year-on-year to £13,000.
There was also a significant rise in the cost of schools inspections carried out by the Board — £36,000 was spent.
The Board’s major source of income remains the communal levy paid by synagogue members across the country. Mr Brass stressed the need for synagogues to work hard to collect the contributions.
A motion will be put to Sunday’s meeting regarding proposals for a new policy on accepting donations from groups which could damage the Board’s reputation or inhibit the organisation’s independence.
A “Twenty Twenty Vision” conference open to the entire Anglo-Jewish community will be held later this year or in early 2014 to discuss communal leadership for the next decade.