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  1. ITV Report

Almost half of voluntary groups feel pressure over political impasse

A new study from Co3 and Ulster Bank looked at the extent of the pressure being put on NI's third sector by the political impasse Photo: UTV
A new study from Co3 and Ulster Bank looked at the extent of the pressure being put on NI's third sector by the political impasse Credit: UTV

Almost half of third sector organisations feel threatened by a lack of Northern Ireland budget.

That’s according to a new study from Co3 and Ulster Bank.

The quarterly survey of almost 200 leaders includes some of Northern Ireland’s largest charities and social enterprises through to small community groups.

44 percent of those surveyed for the Third Sector Index state that the lack of a Northern Ireland budget threatens their organisation's ability to operate.

There has also been a significant increase in the proportion of voluntary sector leaders reporting cash flow issues at their organisation.

The study found 28 percent are now reporting cash flow problems compared to 17 percent last quarter.

Third sector leaders are also increasing pessimistic about the outlook for the Northern Ireland economy.

Almost three-quarters expect the economy to worsen during the 12 months ahead.

– Ulster Bank and CO3 3rd Sector Index, Q1 2017

Ulster Bank Chief Economist, NI, Richard Ramsey, says: "With austerity, Brexit, the current political impasse, and the lack of Northern Ireland budget, the environment for the third sector is certainly challenging. Many of them will also be dealing with a rising cost base from, for instance, input cost inflation, the National Living Wage, and pension issues. This makes it all the more important for the sector as a whole to continue to adapt and to find new streams of revenue; albeit this is extremely difficult to do with the lack of certainty about future funding. Leadership and proactive management are more important than ever. Like the private sector, the most innovative and effective organisations will be the ones that survive and thrive."