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Wildlife Rescue Services

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 1 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support her Department has given to wildlife rescue services in each of the past 10 years; and what recent representations she has received about the funding of such services. [109725]

The Department welcomes the activities of groups who seek to rehabilitate wildlife. We do not give financial assistance to these organisations. We are not aware of specific representations made concerning the funding of such services.While the Government cannot see a case for extending the use of public money to directly fund their work, it has policies in place to increase the value of these gifts by generous tax concessions, thereby supporting the work of all charities without compromising their independence.As part of the Government's policy to encourage more people to give to charity, the tax incentives for charitable giving were improved from 6 April 2000. There are now no limits on the amounts that individuals can give through the Gift Aid and Payroll Giving Schemes. In addition, for the first time, there is a new income tax relief for gifts to charity of listed shares and securities. Businesses can also get tax relief when they donate money, stock or equipment to charities in general.