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110 Oxfam jobs to go
OXFAM has announced it is set to cut around 110 jobs at its Oxford headquarters.
The charity has denied “spending beyond its means” after being accused of blowing its budget by Oxford City Council leader Bob Price.
It said it wanted to reduce redundant administrative roles and put more money into helping the world’s poorest countries. In total, it will be axeing 125 positions across the UK and closing small regional offices.
Oxfam employs 840 people at Oxfam House in Cowley, about 13 per cent of whom are expected to lose their jobs.
The rest of the redundancies will be made at the charity’s Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol or London offices.
It is hoped the changes will save about £7.5m. Chief executive Mark Goldring said the charity no longer needed as much support in its head office.
Mr Goldring, who became Oxfam’s chief executive in May and earns £122,400 a year, said: “It is imperative that we have an Oxfam which lives within its means and is relevant to 21st century needs.
“Advances in technology mean we no longer need as much support in head office.”
The charity was not able to clarify what these changes were – but said they were down to the “centralisation” of services.
The cuts are expected to see jobs go in its human resources, finance, business support and campaigns and policy departments in Oxford.
Oxfam employs 5,300 people worldwide and works with more than 22,000 volunteers.
Last year, it reached 94 countries, 13,500,000 people and has a budget of £400m. Its income to the year ending in March was £367.9m, compared with £385.5m the year before.
Its two main sources of income, shop sales and fundraising, were both down from 2011/12.
The charity admits it is facing financial pressures, but said it would be making the changes even if it was not.
Mr Goldring said: “Our resources will be focused in the regions where we carry out the majority of our work.
“This will mean we can deliver the most effective and efficient support to the millions of people who go to sleep hungry each night.”
Oxfam was founded in Oxford in 1942 as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by Quakers, social activists and city academics.
It has expanded hugely since then, but from 2015 it will begin to make changes to its international programmes – which it has been reported will see it stop working in several unspecified countries.
The charity’s accounts for 2012-13 show that its general reserves fell by £12.7m during 2012/13, with the balance being £26.5m at the end of March 2013. The charity said this was in line with its reserve target of £25m.
But Labour city council leader Mr Price said: “I think it is very unfortunate that Oxfam has been spending beyond its means.
“Now this is going to have a huge impact on employment in the city.”
But Oxford spokesman Leona Everitt said: “This decision is not linked to spending our reserves. ”
She said the crisis in Syria and elsewhere had also stretched the charity’s resources.
The charity will now consult and is aiming to limit job losses and redeploy staff where possible. The process will be finalised by March.