Ahead of today’s Budget Kirsty Weakley summarises what the charity sector is hoping for.
Later today Philip Hammond will set out his first, and last, Spring Budget (he announced at the Autumn Statement that in future the Budget will take place in the autumn – starting this autumn). Here is what the charity sector has suggested the Chancellor might consider.
Reform to the tax system
The Charity Finance Group coordinated a letter on behalf of Navca, Children England, Locality, the Association of Charitable Foundations, Voice4Change England, the Small Charities Coalition, Social Enterprise UK and the Institute of Fundraising.
They emphasised the value of the charity sector to the economy - £12.2bn per year and called for tax cuts to support charities. The main points are:
- Reduce Irrecoverable VAT for charities
- Increase mandatory charitable non-domestic business rate relief to 100 per cent
- Increase pay back of National Insurance Contributions for charities
- Lower the Insurance Premium Tax for charities to 6 per cent
The Charity Tax Group echoed calls on VAT and Insurance Premiumn Tax and called on the government for the reinstatement of Research and Development Credit as a relief for non-university charities, and exemption for charities from digital record-keeping.
NCVO also said the government should use tax policy to support charities and do more to engage with the HMRC Charity Tax Forum. It also announced that it is setting up an independent commission to review to tax system.
In its letter to the Chancellor, the Directory of Social Change urged Hammond to increase funding for the Charity Commission, so that charities would not have to pay for it.
A consultation on the future funding of the commission has been anticipated for some time now. The regulator’s chair, William Shawcross, is known to believe that some element of charging charities, but the Treasury is yet to launch the consultation.
More support for charities
NCVO also called for government to do more to support local communities and volunteering.
Elsewhere, Sense have called for more support for social care. Richard Kramer, deputy chief executive of Sense, said: "The sector has been waiting with bated breath for a long-term Government solution to the growing crisis and whilst some action has been taken, it has not been anywhere near enough to save the current system, which is completely unsustainable and at real risk of total collapse.
"If it wishes to avert disaster, the government must recognise in this Budget that it is now or never for social care, by delivering the funds and long-term sustainability plan that councils and care providers need in order to maintain quality services.”
Patrick Murray, head of policy and external affairs at charity think tank NPC, warned in its blog that even if there is more money for social care it could hit the sector in other ways.
“So even if that short-term money provides a bit of a sticking plaster, other services like libraries, children’s centres or help for people experiencing homelessness could face further pressure. Charities who work with local authorities need to be vigilant about what might be coming,” he said.
The Samaritans has produced a report, Dying from Inequality, linking inequality with higher risk of suicide and calling of on the government to do more to support those with unstable employment, insecure housing, low income or in areas of socioeconomic deprivation.
Follow #volsecbudget on Twitter for live updates of the Budget as it happens. We'll have full coverage of all the news for charities later today.