Published: 03/10/2002 Volume II2, No.5825 Page 4

Budget cuts of around 10 per cent have forced job losses at the King's Fund, and the future of the charity's bookshop and restaurant are under threat.

The charity has been hit by a downturn in the stock market, affecting its investments over the past three years, and is looking to save£1.2m on its£12.7m budget in 2003.

Chief executive Rabbi Julia Neuberger told HSJ that annual savings would be needed until 'the end of 2004 at least'.

Already, 18.5 out of 136 wholetime equivalent posts have been lost, 16 of them through voluntary redundancy and the remainder through a freeze on vacancies, mainly in policy.

A spokesman said that 11 administrative or support staff and five policy or grants staff had been made redundant.

More posts could be lost before the end of the year as consultation on the future of the bookshop, restaurant and budgets in areas such as publications and policy is still ongoing. One source described staff morale at the charity as 'rock bottom'.

The King's Fund spokesman said that although the bookshop 'potentially could' close and would not confirm that the restaurant would remain, the grants programme would continue. 'We are hardly going to stop giving out grants. It would be invidious to do so.'

But he added: 'That is pretty much the only thing where There is no change in the total amount of outlay.'

The fund is also looking at letting out parts of its building, he said.

Rabbi Neuberger said: 'I do not want to do this again. It is horrible.

We are trying to avoid compulsory redundancies, which makes it unpleasant but not vile.'

The King's Fund was not alone as other charities had also been hit, she emphasised. 'This is the third bad year and there is no sign of it getting any better.'

'The cuts are quite large because the fall in the stock market means the money available for our own spending is being significantly reduced. But we have to live within what we can afford, to keep the lump of capital intact.'