Cancer Research UK has developed plans to become a 'leaner, more focused organisation' in the wake of COVID-19's devastating impact on its fundraising income.

The charity said it has is making 'difficult decisions' to significantly cut spend on beating cancer, its operations and staff numbers after an anticipated £300 million decline in fundraising income over the next three years.

As it adapts financial challenges and a new environment amid the pandemic, the charity said it will have to stop some programmes of work, reduce the amount or scope of other activities, and will be cutting its workforce by 500 roles, (not including trading).

The charity also plans to introduce a new research model designed to maximise impact from a lower level of spend, and will reduce its research spend to £250 million within four to five years – a cut of £150 million from what the charity had planned to spend.

“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,” said Michelle Mitchell, chief executive at Cancer Research UK.

“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.

“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.”