Cancer Research UK could be forced to cut £150 million per year from its research funding as the COVID-19 pandemic decimates its income.
“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 […] so that decades of investment in UK research is not lost in a matter of months.” – Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK
As the funder of around 50% of all publicly funded cancer research in the UK, cuts in Cancer Research UK funding will not only prevent future breakthroughs for people with cancer but will have a massive impact on scientists and research infrastructure that have taken decades to build.
Ultimately, this could set back the progress we have seen in survival for people with cancer.
Cancer Research UK working alongside the Association of Medical Research Charities, which represent over 150 medical research charities, is today urgently asking the Government to work with them to develop a solution that will bridge the funding gap. They believe that collectively medical research charities are an essential part of the post-pandemic solution to rebooting the UK’s economy, ensuring that the UK is still on course to become a global science superpower.
Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, 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.
“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 life-saving research, which will severely impact our vision of seeing 3 in 4 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.” says Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK
Back in April 2020, Cancer Research UK had to make a difficult decision to cut £44 million funding across its research portfolio because of the pandemic. The re-evaluation of the charity’s financial position now raises the potential impact to £150 million 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 major fundraising events being cancelled during the COVID-19 crisis. Coupled with an uncertain economic environment, this means even more difficult decisions about where further cuts to its life-saving research will need to be made.