Over the past 13 years, we have introduced a number of measures directed at encouraging charitable giving. We introduced the payroll giving scheme. We have extended and widened value added tax reliefs—and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, when he was Chancellor, introduced the gift aid scheme.
Gift aid allows tax relief on one-off donations of £600 or more. It has been a considerable success. Charities have received nearly £200 million in income under the scheme. I propose that from 1 July 1992 the minimum gift should be reduced to £400—the figure proposed by the Council for Charitable Support and the Charities Tax Reform Group. I shall not go further, because I know that some charities are concerned that to do so might reduce the attraction of regular giving through charitable covenants.
But I propose some changes to the arrangements for tax relief on charitable covenants, intended to reduce administration costs for charities and to help them to maintain a steady and reliable flow of income. And I propose a number of minor improvements to the VAT reliefs available to charities and for aids to the disabled.