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Local Charities Day

Volume 616: debated on Thursday 3 November 2016

Local Charities Day is an opportunity for all to celebrate small local charities across the country and for the Government to recognise the huge contribution that they make to local communities. Small charities make up 97% of the voluntary and community sector and have a massive impact, yet media attention usually focuses on the big players. Small local charities deserve much more recognition than they currently receive, and I encourage all hon. and right hon. Members to get involved on 16 December.

Will the Minister tell the House how the Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Bill will help charities such as the Leyland Project, which works with young people in my constituency?

I pay tribute to the Leyland Project, which does such great work in my hon. Friend’s constituency, and possibly elsewhere in Lancashire. The Bill represents yet another commitment that we are making to small local charities that will help to ensure that the gift aid small donations scheme is more accessible to small and new charities. It is expected to be worth an additional £15 million a year for the sector. That means £41 million a year from the small donation scheme, which, when added to gift aid of £1.3 billion a year, should help an awful lot of small charities.

Is the Minister aware that the latest findings from the national trustee survey reveal that almost a quarter of charity trustees have considered quitting due to mounting pressure and that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit trustees? Given how important trustees are to the sector, what plans do the Government have for further support so that trustees can fulfil their roles?

The right hon. Lady is absolutely right to mention the role of trustees, who do a fantastic job up and down the country supporting charities in their amazing work. The Government’s job is to help charities big and small to become more independent, resilient and sustainable. That is exactly what we intend to do.