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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence