Cancer Research UK plans to rebuild and adapt to changed world following £300m drop in income

Cancer Research UK has announced plans to adapt and rebuild following an anticipated £300 million decline in fundraising income over the next three years from the impact of COVID-19.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive, 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.”

Cancer Research UK said in a statement “Regrettably we will have to stop some programmes of work, reduce the amount or scope of other activities, and will be reducing the size of the workforce by 500 roles (circa. 24%).”

The charity also recently announced unavoidable cuts to its life-saving research and plans to introduce a new research model designed to maximise impact from a lower level of spend. It will also reduce its research spend to £250 million within four to five years – a cut of £150m from what the charity had planned to spend. 

Michelle continued: “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 3 in 4 by 2034.”