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Medical research charities risk losing over a third of fundraising income in 2020

Medical research charities risk losing over a third of fundraising income in 2020

Medical charities could lose almost 38% of their income this year, and over 25% next year, according to research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

Restrictions on fundraising , charity shop closures and wider economic uncertainty are all contributing to these losses, the think tank found.

In a new report, IPPR estimates that this lost charity income and the adverse economic conditions will cause a cumulative £7.8 billion shortfall in research and development (R&D) between now and 2027 – equal to 10% of UK health R&D.

This breaks down as:

 Up to £4.1 billion less investment in health R&D by medical research charities, due to lost charitable income.
 Up to £3.8 billion less investment from the private sector in UK health R&D, due to the above reduction in charitable investment and adverse economic conditions.

IPPR estimates that of the £3.8 billion reduction in private sector investment, £1.3 billion is attributable to reduced charity sector spend.

These figures constitute a ‘reasonable worst- scenario’ according to the think tank. However, even in the best-case scenario, the study predicts £4.5 billion less R&D investment – £2 billion of which is attributable to lost charity income.

The British Heart Foundation and were among the contributors to the research. BHF Chief Executive, Dr Charmaine Griffiths, said:

“To overlook the scale of research funded by charities at this critical time would put life saving discoveries at , threaten our economic recovery and jeopardise the Government’s ambition to make the UK a global ‘science superpower’.

“Charities have driven significant breakthroughs which have turned the tide on some of our biggest killers including heart disease and cancer. But without Government commitment to a Life Sciences-Charity Partnership Fund, charities will be forced to make devastating cuts to their research which will be hugely damaging for patients and UK science. At the BHF we have already halved our research investment from £100m to £50m this year.

“Science has taken centre stage this year and the vital role of research has never been clearer. Keeping our scientific edge is essential to ensuring the UK economy gets back on track and enabling breakthroughs that save and improve lives.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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