Budget 2012: What the Chancellor didn't say

George Osborne, copyright HM Treasury

Budget 2012: What the Chancellor didn't say

Fundraising | Dan Corry | 22 Mar 2012

Charities barely got a look in during George Osborne's Budget speech this time around. Has the charity sector been so soon forgot? Dan Corry contemplates.

The last two coalition Budgets have held interesting developments for the sector—the focus on ‘Big Society’ and changes to gift aid last year were a pretty big deal.

By comparison, this year’s announcement contained no such big stories. From a macroeconomic perspective there was little new. The forecasts are still for low growth, way below the 2.5 per cent promised not long ago, and there was no real change to public spending. Broadly that means that the needs of the people which charities try to serve will continue to grow, whilst the resources charities have from public sources will continue to diminish. Hard times will continue, not least as the Chancellor strongly signaled more welfare cuts ahead.

What was fascinating from the voluntary sector’s perspective was less what the Chancellor said, but more what he did not say. OK, one can be a bit over-sensitive, but I counted only one passing reference to charities in his speech. And that once key phrase ‘Big Society’ did not get a look in this year. Clearly the hyper politically savvy Chancellor is not a fan.

At a time when the Chancellor had little to say on growth—unless you are a believer that scrapping the 50p tax rate and some corporation tax reductions will do the trick—I would have expected a bit more about how he was creating a new economy with social enterprise, social investment and dynamic not-for-profits at its heart. Digging down into the small print, the sector did get a promise of a review of financial barriers to social investment, but with little sense of urgency.

There were also nods to the sector on some aspects of gift aid, and on highlighting that the reduced rate of inheritance tax is to come into being soon. The story that the sector seems to be focusing on is the cap on tax relief, with the Chancellor announcing that anyone seeking to claim more than £50,000 of these reliefs in one year would be subject to a cap at 25 per cent of their income. While a sensible sounding policy overall, it has the potential to adversely affect giving by high-net-worth individuals. The detail of the Budget document shows that the government plans to ‘explore with philanthropists ways to ensure that this measure will not impact significantly on charities that depend on large donations’. Easy to say but no doubt hard to achieve. We shall wait and see the results of this exploration with interest.

This Budget will probably be recalled for marking the scrapping of the 50p rate and as a result raising the question of how much we are still ‘all in it together’. But for the sector, I doubt it will be much of a Budget to remember.

This blog was first published by New Philanthropy Capital



[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear


  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Dan Corry

Dan Corry became chief executive of New Philanthropy Capital in October 2011 following a long-standing career in policy advice and politics. His previous role was as policy adviser on the economy to the Prime Minister.

Tesse Akpeki (55) Martin Farrell (46) Robert Ashton (38) Tania Mason (23) Andrew Chaggar (23) David Ainsworth (20) David Philpott (14) Making Good: The Future of the Voluntary Sector (13) Vibeka Mair (11) Ian Allsop (11)
Niki May Young (11) Dorothy Dalton (10) Kirsty Weakley (10) Leon Ward (10) Celina Ribeiro (9) Gordon Hunter (9) David Davison (8) John Tate (8) Neal Green (5) Jeremy Swain (5) Rowena Lewis (5) Andrew Hind CB (4) Daniel Phelan (4) Belinda Pratten (4) Suzi Leather (3) Stephen Lloyd (3) Pauline Broomhead (3) Rosie Chapman (3) Andrew Purkis (3) Ingrid Marson (3) Alexander Swallow (3) Alice Sharman (3) Sir Stuart Etherington (2) Adrian Beney (2) Joe Saxton (2) Jesper Christensen (2) Paul Gibson (2) Andrew Scadding (2) Anne Moynihan (2) Rosamund McCarthy (2) Kevin Carey (2) Garreth Spillane (2) June O'Sullivan (2) Dan Corry (2) Paul Emery (2) Simon Steeden (2) Andrew O'Brien (2) Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE (1) Victoria Cook (1) Claris D'cruz (1) Peter Gotham (1) Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett (1) Justin Davis Smith (1) Kate Sayer (1) Alison McKenna (1) Paul Palmer (1) Anne-Marie Piper (1) Jo Swinhoe (1) Karl Wilding (1) Richard Williams (1) Mike Hudson (1) Sir Christopher Kelly (1) Martin Brookes (1) Simon Hebditch (1) Lindsay Driscoll (1) Jo Coleman (1) Cedric Frederick (1) Jonathan Lewis (1) Dame Mary Marsh (1) Jill Pitkeathley (1) Nick Brooks (1) Linda Laurance (1) Suzie Who (1) James Thompson (1) Stephen Hammersley (1) John May (1) Julian Blake (1) Malcolm Hurlston (1) Andy Gregg (1) Beth Yorath (1) Paul Amadi (1) Caroline Beaumont (1) Judith Davey (1) Diane Lightfoot (1) Douglas Rouse (1) Jackie Turpin (1) Lynda Thomas (1) Tom Flood (1) Dan Sutch (1) Jenni Cahill (1) Jonathan Crown (1) Ruchir Shah (1) Katy Wing (1) George Ames (1) Jenny North (1) Sir David Varney (1) Liam Barrington-Bush (1) Mairéad O'Reilly (1) Tobin Aldrich (1) Michael O'Toole (1) Lisa Clavering (1) Jamie Ward-Smith (1) Ian Joseph (1) Sarah Atkinson (1) Jonathan Bruck (1) Rachel Short (1) Dr Debra Beck (1) Andy Rich (1) Ian Leggett (1) Leigh Daynes (1) Tim Willis (1) Richard Caulfield (1) Emma Callagher (1)
Less +++ More +++

The long and unhappy saga of the Local Sustainability Fund

29 Jun 2015

Last week the government announced a £20m pot of funding for charities. This sounds like good news, says...

Government can't ask charities to compete for contracts while savaging council spending

15 Jun 2015

The government cannot tell charities they must compete for contracts in a market while slashing the spending...

'Northern Powerhouse'? Almost as clearly defined as the big society

4 Jun 2015

Ian Allsop talks tomatoes and why charities should look north for income growth opportunities under the...

Join the discussion


Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<