Charities blind to ‘Bleak Britain’ in their enthusiasm for Budget support

Charity leaders have fallen over themselves to applaud UK Chancellor George Osborne for what he himself describes as ‘the most generous reforms to charitable giving for 20 years’ in this week’s Budget. John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, described Osborne as having ‘delivered for charities and those who want to support them’, while Ralph Michell, head of policy at the chief executives’ body Acevo, welcomed the package ‘wholeheartedly’. In similar, though more reserved strain, the Charities and Philanthropy Team at law firm Withers talk of a ‘number of truly positive measures in connection with philanthropy and charitable giving’.

Those measures include reform of Gift Aid, so that charities can claim Gift Aid on donations totalling up to £5,000 per charity without any paperwork, implementing an online claim system for the tax relief by 2013, and a 10 per cent tax break on inheritance tax for people whose wills include a 10 per cent legacy to charity. Osborne also said the government would increase the Gift Aid benefit limit, which sets the value of items or services that a charity may give to a donor in return for a donation, from £500 to £2,500, as part of measures to ‘encourage wealthy people in our society to give even more’.

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