Rob Wilson MP, minister for civil society
Interviews

A general election and a great capacity-building plan 1

8 Dec 2014 | Tania Mason

Two days after the Chancellor unveiled his latest plan to cut public spending and outsource large swathes of public services, the minister for civil society has outlined his ideas for boosting the capacity of charities and social enterprises to provide them.  Tania Mason reports.

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A general election and a great capacity-building plan

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Taking positive action

Vibeka Mair talks to Vicki Foster-Taylor, financial controller of ActionAid's international secretariat.

Reversing the charges

Keith Lawson reviews the implications for charities of a European VAT decision The European court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that reverse charge VAT is due on services purchased for wholly non-business purposes in Kollektivavtalsstiftelsen TRR Trygghetsrådet v Skatteverket (C-291/07). This means that taxable persons must account for reverse charge VAT on acquiring cross-border consultancy services, even where those services are to be used exclusively for non-business purposes.

Planning permissions

Debbie Jennings offers some tips on VAT and tax planning for tough times. It seems that the only topic on everyone's mind at the moment is the economic downturn or credit crunch. Organisations in all sectors, including charities, are looking at ways of cutting their costs and improving cashflow, and VAT and tax planning can offer a surprising variety of opportunities in this area.

Making a connection

Toby Eccles explores connecting capital markets to social need. The economic downturn is a present reminder of shocks that affect our society. However, there are many external influences that shape society such as globalisation, new technology, climate change and an ageing population. These factors present opportunities but also create new social problems. The social economy has been growing for several years and government's role is changing, commissioning more from third sector organisations which can be more agile in responding to changing social needs. However, the third sector's ability to respond effectively is inhibited by the way that it is currently financed. Investment capital is largely limited to grant funding and loans, both of which have their drawbacks. Grants are expensive to raise and tend to be restricted to funding current service provision. Loans, on the other hand, are generally only available where they can be secured against assets. This leaves little finance available for organisations to adapt, change and invest in their workforce or infrastructure. They also contend with uncertain revenue streams that are not always aligned with the organisations' social impact.

The widely held view that charities should stick to doing good works and stay clear of campaigning is a recipe for social stagnation. The world has changed, charities need to change with it and speak truth to power about what it takes to solve root causes of societal ills rather than pussyfoot around problems.

» Liberal influence: Andrew Hind interviews Lord Rennard

Banking on returns

Andrew Pitt and Paul Palmer look at how a charity has weathered the storms of the last 125 years.

Charity ends at home

How to oursource management to reduce costs

Taking great care

Two recent cases concerning local authorities and nursing homes have widespread implications for carers, patients and relatives

Investment lessons

Could an investment strategy be the solution to schools maintaining charitable status? Graham Wainer The 2006 Charities Act compels independent schools to justify their on-going charitable status by proving their worth to the wider community. Governors, bursars and head teachers have had to recognise this shift in emphasis and its potential implications for their schools' financial planning. The benefits that charitable status confers are significant, namely exemption from both capital gains and income tax as well as no inheritance tax implications for benefactors. In 2004, the Independent Schools Council estimated that the annual fiscal benefit of charitable status amounted to nearly £100m.

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