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The UK should take action to attract more international philanthropy

11 Feb 2021 News

The government should amend the Finance Act 2010 and provide more support to make the UK centre for international philanthropy, to increase its share from £180bn market.

The report, The UK as a Centre of Excellence for International Philanthropists and Social Investors, published by Beacon Collaborative, is supported by City Bridge Trust and EY. It calculates the size the global market as being US$250bn, equivalent to £182bn, and says global philanthropy is on the rise, with 72% of the world’s 260,000 foundations having been established in the last 25 years.

It is based on research and 40 interviews with experts, including international philanthropists, lawyers, accountants, wealth managers, regulators and policy officials. 

Nine actions

The report shows the UK’s strengths as a strategic base for global philanthropists and social investors and examines how it can become even stronger. 

It outlines nine areas for the UK government, HMRC, the Charity Commission and civil society to strengthen further the UK’s position as a centre for philanthropy.

This includes amending the Finance Act 2010 to apply UK equivalency regime to charities beyond many European jurisdictions so that overseas charities could enjoy the same tax advantages as UK domestic charities.

It also suggests investing in the Charity Commission and HMRC to support international philanthropists to set up a UK foundation and/or donate money to UK charities.

Other recommendations include appointing a philanthropy commissioner and an International Philanthropy and Social Investment Council, as well as promote the incentives of Gift Aid and Social Investment Tax Relief internationally.

‘Brexit and the pandemic present many challenges but also offer us an opportunity’

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “The UK is a global financial powerhouse and it is right that we should also aspire to be an internationally-recognised hub for philanthropy and social investment. 

“Brexit and the pandemic present many challenges but also offer us an opportunity to take a fresh look at global philanthropy. We want to make sure the UK’s legal and regulatory frameworks make it as easy as possible for overseas investors to support projects which make a real, positive difference to society.” 

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