Labour amendments to small donations bill fail

The Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Bill completes its passage through the House of Commons and has been passed to the House of Lords

The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament

None of the amendments to the Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Bill put forward by Labour or the Scottish National Party have succeeded.

At the bill’s third and final reading in the House of Commons yesterday, four Labour amendments tabled by four MPs, including John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, failed to pass through parliament.

The bill, which has been passed to the House of Lords, is designed to simplify the GASDS, which allows charities to claim Gift Aid-like relief on up to £8,000 of small cash donations each year without individual paperwork. It has been criticised by charities for being too complex.

One Labour amendment, which was withdrawn, called on HM Revenue & Customs to produce a report for each tax year, beginning with 2017/18, that would include "its assessment of the extent to which charities have been established or operated for the primary purpose of securing benefits from the small donations scheme".

Another Labour amendment to force the Treasury to consult the Scouts, Guides, Cadets and other relevant organisations before producing guidance on connected charities, whereby independent branches of a national charity can claim GASDS separately, was defeated after a vote.

An amendment to allow donations through electronic communication or cheque to qualify for the GASDS was also defeated following a vote.

Similar amendments tabled separately by Labour and the SNP, which called for a review of the matching rule by the Chancellor of the Exchequer before the end of the 2017/18 financial year, failed to pass the session.  

The matching rule says that charities must claim £1 in Gift Aid for every £10 claimed under the GASDS, but charity umbrella bodies including the National Council for Voluntary Organisations have called for it to be scrapped, saying it is a "barrier and a burden for charities".

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