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Gift Aid

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

In addition to the measures that I listed in response to Question 1, the Government are funding a small charities training programme that targets charities with a turnover of less than £1 million per annum to ensure that small charities can access guidance and training on gift aid.

The Mary Stevens hospice in Stourbridge is much loved by all my constituents—so much so that it derives 82 per cent. of its income from legacies and donations. How will changes made to gift aid in the Budget assist small charities and organisations such as Mary Stevens?

Let me join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to her local charity and the work that it does. The changes that we announced in the Budget—not just the transitional relief for gift aid but changes to rules on auditing and record-keeping—are specifically designed to help small charities, which often get small donations and find that there is a lot of complication and bureaucracy involved in claiming gift aid. I hope that she will find that the changes will help her local charity.

Websites such as justgiving.com make it easy for people who want to donate to charities to access gift aid. What specific encouragement will the Minister’s Department give to such websites, so that online access can be extended?

The hon. Gentleman has just given the website a good plug. I believe that I used it, or a similar website, to sponsor someone who was running in the London marathon to raise money for a hospice. The hon. Gentleman makes an important point, and we will endeavour to look into whether there is anything more that we can do to help such websites. It is important that the Government do not try to do the task themselves, because independent organisations are doing a very good job.