NCVO calls for £50m in the Budget to help charities

Alistair Darling should provide social investment bank and changes to Gift Aid, says umbrella body

Umbrella body the NCVO has called on Chancellor Alistair Darling to commit £50m in next week's Budget to the establishment of a social investment bank.

The bank would provide sources of loan finance for the voluntary sector and use unclaimed assets from dormant bank accounts to fund social enterprises.

"The Chancellor could throw a lifeline to the sector by showing commitment to developing the social investment bank," said Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive of the NCVO. "This would give social enterprises and charities much-needed access to capital to help develop their services."

Also on the NCVO's wish list for the Budget are a new opt-out system for Gift Aid, more money for charities helping to tackle climate change and a scheme to simplify the transfer of assets such as unused public buildings to charities.

Ben Kernighan's comments came after Prime Minister Gordon Brown hinted at a Budget package to help charities hit by the recession at a pre-G20 debate in St Paul's Cathedral. "I believe it is our duty to help charities at this time," said Brown.

Cabinet Office minister Liam Byrne rejected a call from the Conservatives to establish a social investment bank earlier this year.

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