Chancellor Champions Charities in the Pre-election Budget article banner image

The Chancellor, George Osborne has announced plans in his Budget to raise the limit on the amount of small cash donations that can be claimed under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS). The current limit for eligible charities and community amateur sports clubs to claim these Gift Aid style “top up” payments on small cash donations is set at £5,000 a year. From April 2016 this should increase to £8,000 a year. Implementation of the measure will be dependent on the outcome of the general election on 7 May 2015, however in his speech; George Osborne said that he expects 6,500 charities to benefit from the higher limits which will increase the maximum amount that can be claimed from £1,250 to £2,000 a year.

Whilst the increase in limits has generally been welcomed, there have been calls for a planned review of the scheme to be brought forward from 2016. Many believe the scheme is too complex, and discourages many small charities from claiming. The failure of the Chancellor to deal with the structure of the scheme has therefore led to some disappointment in the charity world.

Other welcome news was the Government’s recognition of the need for subsidised fundraising training for small charities, and the Office for Civil Society will procure a partner to deliver the training during 2015-2016. In his response to the Budget announcement, Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising said “Skilled fundraisers are key to building good relationships with donors and securing vital funds for good causes.” It is hoped the scheme will enable more small charities to take part in fundraising training courses as a way of increasing the income they generate.
Further charity announcements in the 2015 Budget included:-

• a plan to expand the VAT refunds scheme to include blood bikes and search and rescue charities;

• a further £75 million of LIBOR fines to be paid to military, veteran and air ambulance charities over the next 5 years;

• grants to charities who provide rapid response vehicles for medical purposes; and

• an additional £40 million for the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund to pay for vital roof repairs in 2015 to 2017.

Tamsin is a solicitor with a specialism in charity law to get in touch call 01726 74433 or email