The £28 million London Borough Grants Scheme currently supports more than 400 organisations, with individual grants ranging from between £5,000 and £500,000. It is funded and governed by all 32 London boroughs and the Corporation of London.
Unite believes that proposals by the London Councils’ Grants Committee (LCGC) to end ring fencing for specific projects and allow councils to redistribute funding locally will see existing projects closed down.
Doug Nicholls, Unite national officer for the not-for-profit sector said:
"Plans by the LCGC will let Londoners down and be another nail in the coffin of a strategic shared approach to solving some of the capital’s most entrenched social problems.
"A worst case proposal could see funding for 400 projects end on 31 March next year and future funds disappearing into the overall councils’ budgets with no ring fencing or guarantee that it would go to the voluntary sector to support the most disadvantaged."
Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, chair of London Councils Grants Committee, responded to the claim, saying:
"Circumstances are very different now to when the programme was last reviewed five years ago. In the light of these tough economic times, many boroughs feel that they are in a better place to decide how the money should be spent locally, especially as this will vary from borough to borough.
"We are reviewing the grants scheme to make sure that the money is being used in the most effective way for voluntary groups and boroughs alike.
"Among the things we will be looking at will be whether a pan-London grants scheme is the best way of spending the money, or whether it would be more beneficial for the money to be spent locally by one or more boroughs in a region."
The LCGC is expected to make a decision on the future of the scheme on 25 November, following the end of the current consultation process.