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Charity Bequests

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 21 June 2011

At the Budget this year we announced the most radical and generous series of charity tax reforms for more than 20 years. The measures were not just about improving support for gift aid and payroll giving—we also introduced new measures to improve the inheritance tax system so that we can encourage more bequests.

What estimate has my hon. Friend made of the number of charities that will benefit from the raising of the gift aid limits, the simplification of gift aid administration and the introduction of the gift aid small donation scheme?

My hon. Friend is right to point out that we have taken a number of steps to improve the ability of gift aid to help charities. There are about 100,000 charities and community and amateur sports clubs currently registered for gift aid, all of which should be able to benefit in part or in entirety from these changes.

The reality of the Government’s approach to charities is that they have imposed a tax burden on charities by increasing VAT. If the Minister really wants to do something positive for charities, why does she not extend to them the same tax relief relating to VAT that is extended to local government?

I emphasise to the hon. Gentleman that the measures we came up with for the Budget were ones that we talked to charities about in order to pull together. Over this Parliament, the measures will encourage approximately £600 million more going to charities from donations, and I think that all hon. Members across the House should welcome that.