RSPCA donations drop by £7m as campaigns fail to find support

Charity is being forced to restructure business and cut jobs as spending has become 'unsustainable'

Animal welfare charity the RSPCA is facing a tough year ahead as it battles a drop in donations of £7m.

The charity, which “only exists because of public donations”, is known for its hard-line defence of animal rights and its strong political campaigns such as denouncing the government’s badger cull, and its successful prosecution of hunting in Oxfordshire.  

But now the charity is being forced to restructure its business and cut jobs across the organisation to tackle the drop in financial support against a “net cash outflow” of £6.1m last year.

The RSPCA has seen a £5.7m plunge in legacy income, with gift donations having dropped by £1.3m.

In a letter sent out to staff, the RSPCA’s chair Mike Tomlinson said that the charity would need to restructure in order to create savings of £4.5m a year, while confirming that jobs would be cut from its 1,500 strong workforce,according to Third Sector magazine.

In a statement Mr Tomlinson said the RSPCA has made significant budget cuts already, but that the figures, when set against the organisation’s cash outflow on its core work of over £6m, are “unsustainable”.

He said: “Given rising costs, including private boarding as well as fuel, energy and veterinary bills, our operational costs are increasing faster than income is being generated.

“We have already started to implement plans to diversify the society’s income into new areas such as events and business, which will see the RSPCA move away from reliance on legacy income.”

He added that these are long-term plans however, and that the RSPCA needed to address the reduction in its income in the short term.

Mr Tomlinson’s remarks come at a difficult time for the charity, which does not currently have a chief executive. Gavin Grant stood down in February after two years in the role, due to health issues, and John Grounds, the charity’s director of marketing and campaigns, was expected to represent the charity in its public commitments in Mr Grant’s absence - but he left the charity six weeks later with immediate effect.

Sir Barney White-Spunner, of the Countryside Alliance, told the Mail on Sunday: “The RSPCA has undertaken high-profile, political campaigns on subjects such as hunting, the badger cull, live exports and horse-racing – campaigns we feel have done little to further animal welfare and should not be the priority of the RSPCA.  We hope it will reconsider how it spends donors’ money.”

The news follows revelations last year that the RSPCA’s own deputy chairman, Paul Draycott, feared the charity’s campaigns had become “too political” and that the work could harm the charity’s future.

A leaked discussion paper written by Mr Draycott and seen by The Telegraph last September showed his concerns about the potential risks around the charity being seen to be too political, and the effect it could have on the attitudes of the RSPCA’s wealthy donors, or the brands that support the charity through commercial sponsorship worth millions of pounds.

The Charity Commission was petitioned by a group of cross-party politicians in late 2012 urging it to investigate the RSPCA for spending over £320,000 on the prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire, after the group’s members were filmed killing a fox, which is in violation of the law.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA tonight said: "Income always tends to go up and down but was at its highest in 2012 which was the year when we were being accused of being our most political, so this clearly isn't the reason.

"Donations to the RPSCA were not down last year, just legacies, which are decided by those who chose to leave money to the RSPCA years in advance of us actually receiving the money.

"Support for the RSPCA remains strong because we are doing exactly what people expect us to do- fighting cruelty to animals."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam