A CAF and NCVO-led campaign calling on the Chancellor to exempt charitable donations from a cap on personal tax reliefs has gained over 340 official supporters, including 171 organisations.
'Give it back George' was launched on Friday (23 March) following George Osborne's Budget announcement, measures within which include a cap on income tax relief which was previously unrestricted.
The new cap will limit relief to 25 per cent of an individual's income or £50,000, whichever is greater. This will affect charities through the gift aid tax relief.
The campaigning organisations advise that almost half of the £11bn given to charity last year came from just 7 per cent of donors, and they warn that the cap will affect major donations as it will cost more to give to charity.
The campaign claims that the measure also brings a negative connotation to giving: "It’s framing tax relief on donations to charity as some sort of tax avoidance measure: it creates the impression that giving to charity is a bad thing. But unlike other tax reliefs, this is not for personal benefit: it still costs donors to give to charity," a statement on the Give it Back George website says.
Flash support for the campaign
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, is encouraged by the support the campaign has received so far: "I have never seen a campaign of this kind gather support so quickly and across such a broad range of organisations from the voluntary sector, universities and the arts.
"It is really heartening to see small organisations and household names pledge their support, and this highlights how devastating and far-reaching an impact these proposals could have. The government has a real opportunity to listen to these voices and exclude charitable donations from the proposed cap."
At 10:30am this morning the campaign had 340 official supporters, of which 171 were organisations and the remainder were individuals. Big names supporting the campaign include Action on Hearing Loss, Diabetes UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Samaritans, Sue Ryder and Victim Support.
Give it Back George has also spread across Twitter with 185 tweets (according to Tweetreach.com) including small charity Bikers4Martha and chief executive of the Cyrenians Stephen Bell.
Sir Stephen Bubb, Acevo CEO, has warned that as a result of the cap, charities may boycott the upcoming Giving Summit in protest. “It is hard for charity leaders to sit quietly listening to plans to get people to give more when their fundraising strategies have been torpedoed. There is a simple solution: remove charity donations from the proposed new tax allowance cap. Do it before damage is done," he said.
On Friday sector leaders, all of whom are involved in Give it Back George, sent a letter demanding a meeting with the Chancellor to discuss the cap. The Give it Back George website advises that the group will also be meeting with ministers soon to voice their concerns.