CFDG disappointed by third sector budget commitments 22/04/09

The Charity Finance Directors' Group (CFDG) welcomed the £20m Hardship Loan Fund in the budget but was disappointed by the lack of firm commitments which would help the sector in the long term.

Issues missed were those such as exploring an 'opt-out' system for Gift Aid or action on the withdrawal of the VAT Staff Hire Concession.

Ernese Skinner, policy and campaigns manager at CFDG, said, "Charities will be critical to the speed and stability with which the UK comes out of recession. We are therefore pleased to see the £20m Hardship Fund, and that the Government is taking forward proposals around a Social Investment Wholesale Bank.

"We are also pleased by the announcement of a consultation on bringing Charity Investment Funds under the regulation of the FSA, which would maintain the associated tax reliefs."

"However, the Governmen have missed a chance to support collaborative working in the secto by not providing any targeted VAT relief for charities looking to share services. In addition, we note that the legislation around Substantial Donors to charity has not been immediately repealed. Although this is disappointing, we hope to work with Government to develop an effective anti-avoidance purpose test as soon as possible."

The Treasury has not ruled out the introduction of 'opt-out' legislation for Gift Aid for which CFDG and other sector bodies has lobbied for over the last year, but is concentrating, for the time being, on the effect of redirecting higher-rate relief from donors to charities.

Kate Hand, policy and campaigns Officer at CFDG, said: "in the light of CFDG's ongoing work on sustainability we are particularly pleased to see such an emphasis on building a low-carbon future. The money available for small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their energy efficiency will be welcome to charities as they start to look at this area in more depth."

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