Alistair Darling’s Budget has largely disappointed communal welfare charities.
Jewish Care finance director Helen Verney said the hope had been for supportive initiatives, “including the simplification of the Gift Aid scheme and a reprieve on the abolition of the concession on VAT on temporary staff. This does not seem the case and puts further pressure on us at a very difficult time.”
On Gift Aid — tax relief on money donated to UK charities — Jewish Care had wanted the scheme amended to allow the relief to be claimed on all donations unless donors opt out, “instead of the current more complicated ‘opt in’ system”.
Norwood’s corporate services director Philip Bunt noted that the 50 per cent tax band being introduced next year for those earning above £150,000 would impact on charitable donations through Gift Aid.
“The donor will be able to claim back the increased difference between the new 50 per cent rate and the 20 per cent basic rate,” he pointed out.
Government-commissioned research into the effects of redirecting higher rate relief from donors to charities might please Norwood, but “could be less welcome to our generous donors”.
Although appreciating the rise in child trust funds by £100 a year for disabled children — and by £200 for severely disabled youngsters — he observed that recipients could not access the money until they were 18.
The child trust funds increase was also welcomed by Beverley Jacobson, chief executive of Kisharon, supporting those with special needs. “However, we feel the Budget has not gone far enough in relieving the pressure on charities during the current recession,” she added.