Reviewing the Review: What the Government’s plans mean for charitiesPosted: January 7, 2013
Blog Post by Steve Clapperton, Campaigns Manager at CAF
The Government’s mid-term review – looking back at their accomplishments from the previous two-and-a-half years and setting out their policy proposals for the remainder of the Parliament – has been published today, and includes four policy statements which will directly impact on the charitable sector.
The review celebrates policies enacted since the formation of the Coalition Government including the creation of social investment bank Big Society Capital, the introduction of the National Citizen Service, the promotion of ATM Giving and the Small Charitable Donations Act, the establishment of 13 social impact bonds and the establishment of the Social Action Fund to support programmes that provide opportunities for volunteering.
In addition, the review sets out the Government’s key policies aims for the third sector to be implemented ahead of the next election in 2015, including:
- Training 500 senior community organisers and recruiting 4,500 volunteer community organisers in the most deprived communities by 2015 through the Community Organisers programme
- Encouraging charitable giving by distributing the remaining £7.5 million of the Innovation in Giving Fund, expanding the ATM Giving scheme, providing more match funding to new charities, and working to improve and expand Payroll Giving
- Improving the administration of Gift Aid through the introduction of online filing for claims – this is expected to be introduced from April 2013
- Supporting public sector workers who want to establish mutuals, providing service commissioners with the information they need to support the creation of mutuals and co-operatives, and developing ‘Right to Provide’ policies to widen access to the delivery of public services
The campaign has called for the modernisation and promotion of both Gift Aid and Payroll Giving in order to maximise the impact that every pound given to charity can have.
Gift Aid alone is worth over a billion pounds to charities each year, but over £750 million of Gift Aid goes unclaimed each year. The Gift Aid Small Donations scheme will be a positive start in making donations worth more, but more needs to done to bring Gift Aid up to date and ensure that donations go further. Working with charities to ensure that Gift Aid is claimed on all donations where possible and reformed to make it easier to claim would make a real difference to charities that are struggling to make ends meet.
Payroll Giving is an extremely effective way of giving, and because a donation is made before income is taxed it means that a £10 donation to charity can cost the person giving as little as £5. Currently Payroll Giving is only used by 3% of employees – increasing this figure would help to reverse falling trends of giving. The campaign calls on the Government to simplify Payroll Giving so that individuals, charities and businesses can make the most of this cost-effective way of giving, and looks forward to working with the Government through their consultation to ensure that any reforms maximise the amount that charities receive.
There is, however, much more that needs to be done to protect the future of charities. Over the next year there will be increased budgetary pressures on local authorities, who have extremely difficult decisions to make about where to allocate expenditure. It is crucial that funding to charities is not cut disproportionately, and one of the most effective ways that the Government can protect charities during this difficult economic time is by using their powers of oversight to ensure that local authorities do not make charities bear the brunt of funding cuts.
The remainder of this Parliament will be extremely difficult for charities, many of whom are faced with a combination of reduced funding – both from government and donations – and increased demand. It is pleasing that the Government is willing to act on some of the proposals put forward by the campaign to make life that little bit easier for charities, but we hope that as the challenges facing the sector become clearer, the Government will consider more action to support voluntary organisations. That’s why the Back Britain’s Charities campaign is so important – struggling charities need a voice to stand up for their interests and ensure that they get a fair deal.
Sign up here to add your name to the campaign and call on politicians, businesses and the public to do their bit and Back Britain’s Charities.