By 11 Staff Reporter
' Catholic charities are barely keeping pace with inflation, which is estimated to be running at an annual rate of 15 per cent. Even in eases where donations have risen to cover additional costs the charities are being forced to curtail their development plans. Mr Peter Taylor, honorary secretary of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, said that the inflationary spiral had affected income from special collections.
"There's certainly been nc crease and probably a dropping ofr' he said.
"Whereas people would have slung in five hob they'll only put in two bob. Income is not going up to match the needs." Commenting on a call for state funding of charities at a one-day conference organised in London by the National Council of Social Service, Mr Taylor explained that most of the SVP expenditure was in members' time rather than money. "People are still very generous but we're sort of watching things," he added.
At the headquarters of the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development Mr Noel Charles, the administrator, complimented Catholics for increasing their donations, "In nine months of our work last year we received £320,000 as against £250,000 in the year before" he-said.
"We are certainly hit by inflation. On the other hand it would he wrong to plead poverty. There has been a surprising increase of response from the Catholic population." It was much the same story at the Catholic Housing Aid Society, where Mr Bob Kahn explained that most income — totalling £28,500 in 1973 — came from regular appeals. "It's too early to say how badly hit we are by inflation" he said.
"I don't think it's a crucial problem for us at the moment. I would say that individual donations arc fairly closely keeping pace with inflation,"
But Mr Kahn added that it was difficult to expand without . donations made by deed of covenant, on which tax relief is given. And in a period of high inflation people were less willing to comma themselves to a seven-year covenant.
The outlook for destitute Catholic children is less cheerful, to judge from the comments of Canon Philip Harvey, administrator' for the Crusade of Rescue. He said that the Crusade, which looks after more than 500 children was being forced to put hack its plans to employ more social workers and extend buildings. "You can't make fund-raising activities keep pace with inflation" be said. "My problem is that I shall get behind in the race."
Between 1972 and 1973 expenditure by the Crusade of Rescue rose by £57,000 to a total £277,000, all." igh income increased by only £30,000 to £157,000. Explaining that it cost £50 a week to keep a baby in a nursery Canon Harvey added: "There will come a time when we may have to talk about shutting nurseries.