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CRUK shares cautious optimism for future with release of annual report


Cancer Research UK says it is looking to the future with renewed but cautious optimism following one of the most difficult years in its history.

The charity’s latest Annual Report and Accounts, published yesterday (21 July) shares the impact of the pandemic on its income and spend on charitable activities over the past year, as well as how it has adapted to changes.

Key figures from Cancer Research UK’s Annual Report and Accounts 20/21 include:

Cancer Research UK spent £419m on charitable activities over the last financial year, including £388m on cancer research. However, the impact of the pandemic meant it spent £80m less on cancer research than in the previous year.It raised a total income of £582m, a decrease of £74m from the previous year. The reduction in income was largely due to the temporary closure of its shops and postponement or cancellation of fundraising events due to national and regional restrictions.

Cancer Research UK initially expected to see a reduction in income of £300m over three years (2020-2023) but following better than anticipated performance over the past year, now expects that figure to be £250m. Cost saving measures, coupled with supporters continuing to give generously, means the charity is in a stronger position than it predicted. However, the ongoing uncertainty in the UK means the charity will be approaching the next two years cautiously.

Due to the impact of the pandemic on its income, Cancer Research UK was forced to cut expenditure. This has seen the charity reshape its research model and reduce research spending to £320m in 2021/22, down from the roughly £370m spent annually in the previous two years.  Increasing research expenditure is the charity’s top priority if its financial performance is better than expected in future years.

The charity predicts it will return to year-on-year growth in fundraising income from 2022/23 onwards.

Chief Executive Michelle Mitchell said: 

We were forced to take difficult emergency measures at the start of the pandemic to ensure our financial stability and buy us the time to put a plan in place for how we would recover from the pandemic. This agility, unity and the collective strength displayed by our wonderful staff, supporters and volunteers throughout this time, has been admirable.


“I remain cautiously optimistic for the future. The past year proves the value of investing in the long term in the highest quality discovery science and medical research, and what can be achieved through collaboration. Even in a year dominated by the pandemic, we have taken some giant strides , including the launch of Cancer Grand Challenges, our major new partnership with the US National Cancer Institute.


“We can say confidently that we have solid foundations from which to transform how we prevent, diagnose and treat cancer through live-saving research, and have plenty to celebrate from the past year and to look forward to in the years ahead. I firmly believe that we will remember this as a tough few years in a much longer history at the forefront of the global fight against cancer. Our determination to beat cancer hasn’t faltered and we are more focused than ever on our ambition of seeing 3 in 4 people survive their cancer by 2034.”

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