The RSPCA has announced it needs to cut jobs and restructure the charity after revealing its net cash outflow doubled last year to £6.1million

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Despite tightening their belts and saving £4m in costs, the RSPCA was hit with a £11.6m drop in income. This was partly driven by a drop in public support, with a £5.7m fall in legacy income and a £1.3m drop in donations. In fact, the last time the RSPCA reported a net cash inflow was in 2007.

Mike Tomlinson, the charity’s chair, admitted the excessive spending was “unsustainable”.

He said: “Our operational costs are increasing faster than income is being generated. We have already started to implement plans to diversify the society’s income into new areas such as events and business, which will see the RSPCA move away from a reliance on legacy income.

“However, these are long-term plans and the RSPCA has to address the reduction in our income in the short term.”

According to Third Sector magazine, sources within the RSPCA fear the charity is now facing a “wholesale crisis”.

The announcement is yet another blow in what has already been a turbulent year for the RSPCA, which lost both its chief executive and director of marketing and campaigns after coming under fire for its expensive prosecutions policy.

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance said: “This news raises very serious questions over how the RSPCA spends the money donated by its supporters. As a charity its trustees have a legal obligation to ensure charitable funds are not wasted – I’m sure many donors will have concerns over the huge sums of money spent prosecuting hunts.

“It also casts doubt on the RSPCA’s move to transform itself into the second largest prosecutor after the CPS. We have long questioned its commitment to prosecute cases itself rather than turning them over to the police and CPS. Perhaps by leaving prosecutions to publically accountable bodies they could save money, restore public confidence and concentrate on animal welfare.”

The RSPCA has announced a 45-day consultation exercise with staff with a view to restructuring, prioritising animal welfare work. The society currently employs 1,568 people and it is not yet clear how many jobs will be affected.