Cancer Research UK faces annual cuts of £150m

Cancer research uk shop front

The medical charity has seen fundraising plummet during the Covid-19 crisis. 

24th June 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Cancer Research UK could be forced to cut £150 million per year from its research funding as the Covid-19 pandemic decimates its income, the charity has warned.

The charity, which funds around half of all publicly-funded cancer research in the UK, says the shortfall will not only prevent future breakthroughs for people with cancer but will have a massive impact on scientists and research infrastructure that has taken decades to build.

Chief executive Michelle Mitchell is now appealing to the UK Government to work with the charity to develop a solution to bridge the funding gap and allow vital research to continue.

She said: “Medical research charities like Cancer Research UK are a vital pillar of the UK’s life sciences ecosystem. We support thousands of scientists and world-leading research initiatives in all parts of the UK, all with the aim to improve the lives of people with cancer.”

In April, Cancer Research UK was forced to cut £44m in funding as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The re-evaluation of the charity’s financial position now raises the potential impact to £150m of funding cuts per year while the charity recovers.

The charity is now preparing for a 30% fall in income in the 2020/21 financial year, with further losses in the next year, following temporary closures of its shops and the cancellation of major fundraising events.

Ms Mitchell said: “We have been massively hit by Covid-19 as our fundraising efforts have been hugely restricted. We have been doing everything possible to limit the impact. But without a way to bridge this funding gap, we will have to make radical decisions about cutting lifesaving research, which will severely impact our vision of seeing three in four people survive their cancer within the next 20 years. Ultimately, it will be patients who will suffer the consequences, which is heartbreaking.

“It is imperative that the government urgently works with medical research charities to come to a solution, so that decades of investment in UK research is not lost in a matter of months.”

Professor Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said the cuts would be equivalent to 10 years of clinical trials going unfunded.

He added: “Cancer Research UK has been an effective partner with government and the UK life-science industry. But now we need support from our partners during the period of recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, to ensure we can continue our world-class cancer research for the benefit of everyone.”