An expansion on the limits for the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, a training programme for fundraisers in small charities and VAT refunds for blood bike charities were among the announcements in today’s Budget.
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in his Budget speech before parliament this lunchtime that the government would extend the limit for claims made under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which enables charities to claim a Gift-Aid like payment on small donations, from £5,000 to £8,000 a year from April 2016.
This means that charities will be able to claim up to £2,000 of payments from the government under the scheme each year; the limit was formerly £1,250.
Osborne announced that blood bike charities would join hospices, search and rescue and air ambulance charities in being eligible for VAT refunds on their activities. He announced these other groups would receive VAT refunds in last year's Autumn Statement.
The main Budget document released alongside Osborne’s speech said that the government would "take forward the procurement of a partner to deliver subsidised fundraising training to small charities in 2015/16".
The document said the government was working with the Financial Conduct Authority to create a new Charity Authorised Investment Fund structure that would bring new investment funds created for charitable purposes under FCA regulation.
But there was no announcement of the anticipated £40m fund, announced this time last year, to support voluntary organisations that deliver services to vulnerable groups but are in danger of closing because of financial pressures.
The first awards were originally expected to be made at the end of March this year.
The statement included an announcement about where £75m of fines collected from banks in respect of the Libor manipulation would be spent, including £10m for new helicopters for Essex & Herts, East Anglian and Scottish and Welsh air ambulance charities and for the Lucy Air Ambulance service, which transports children who require urgent care.
There was an additional £40m for the £15m Church Roof Repair Fund to help pay for works until 2017.
Osborne also announced that the personal allowance before people must pay tax on their earnings would be increased from £10,600 to £10,800 in 2016 and £11,000 in 2017. This means that fewer people will be able to claim Gift Aid on donations made to charity.