The Royal British Legion had just under three weeks’ free reserves at the end of the last financial year, according to accounts filed last week.
The charity had an annual income of £125m and £301m in assets, the accounts show. But £161m of its assets were in buildings, and another £104m was held in investments to ensure it honoured future welfare commitments.
It said it had had to transfer £150m into restricted reserves due to legal restrictions around money held in trust.
The accounts show it had less than £6m in free reserves – roughly equivalent to 18 days’ spending.
“Work is in hand with the Charity Commission to implement schemes to free up the assets and the associated reserves and we are pleased to report the first release was achieved in February 2014,” the annual report said.
“However, in the meantime, free reserves, being those reserves immediately available to spend at the discretion of the Trustees, have been limited.
“To maximise the use of these free reserves pending the expected release from restricted funds, the Legion is carefully managing its budgets to match expenditure to voluntary income raised.”
The accounts also show that Legion income fell £8m in the year, mostly down to a £7m drop in voluntary income, including a fall of more than £3m in the amount taken through the Poppy Appeal, which this year raised just under £40m.
One member of staff was paid between £140,000 and £150,000, an increase from last year when the highest-paid member of staff received between £130,000 and £140,000.