Cancer Research UK to cut jobs and research spend

The UK’s biggest cancer charity is to make “significant” reductions to the amount it spends on research and cut jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cancer Research UK said that its planned research spend over the next four to five years needs to reduce by £150 million.

And it also announced plans to cut almost a quarter of its jobs, with up to 345 redundancies over the next six months.

The charity has projected a £300 million loss of fundraising income over the next three years, including £160 million in this year alone.

In a statement the charity released details of its plan to “rebuild and adapt”.

But it said that its research spend over the next four to five years will now be £250 million – a cut of £150 million from what it had planned.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive at Cancer Research UK said: “We’re living through a global crisis unlike any other and, as it’s unfolded, it’s become clear that there’ll be a huge economic impact for years to come.

“As the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research, we must always focus on delivering our pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“We made some very difficult decisions early on to mitigate the impact on our work; we moved all of our staff to 80% pay, furloughed 60% of staff, and cut £44 million from our research. But it is with a heavy heart that I can confirm we will have to reduce the size of our workforce, and make significant cuts to our research spend, as a result of the situation we find ourselves in.

“With such a significant shortfall in income, we cannot afford to keep spending at the same levels. But that doesn’t make those decisions any easier.

“We’re keeping our dedicated, hard-working staff up to date on developments as we have them, and their professionalism throughout this period has been hugely appreciated.

“I am confident that through our world-leading research, information and influencing, we will continue to make transformative steps in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“This plan sets the direction for a new phase in the life of Cancer Research UK and will help us respond to the changed world, quicker than we’ve ever done before. We will emerge a streamlined charity, but still with a resolute drive for impact. Together, we will still beat cancer and realise our ambition to improve cancer survival to three in four by 2034.”

In June, some of Britain’s leading medical research charities issued warnings that research into some of the UK’s deadliest diseases is being “devastated” by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) warned that medical research is being hampered by the economic challenges posed by coronavirus.

Many charities have described huge losses in income as they warned that research efforts could be impacted for years to come.

The AMRC has called for the Government to commit to a matched funding agreement to put the sector on stable footing.

In the first year it is calling for a cash boost of £310 million.

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