Church groups divided over proposals for Gift Aid

Churches in two dioceses are dissenting from a new proposal for calculating Gift Aid that was supported by the Church of England.

The proposal, which would involve charities negotiating flat Gift Aid reclaim rates based on the proportion of their donors who are taxpayers, was submitted to the Treasury's Gift Aid review in September by a coalition of charity umbrella bodies that included the National Church Institutions (Third Sector Online, 1 October).

But church representatives in Devon and Canterbury told Third Sector that this system would penalise parishes that have worked hard to promote Gift Aid.

"Wealthier parishes might be expected to cover the poorer ones," said Joanne Jones, diocesan Gift Aid secretary for Canterbury. "If churches are given the same arbitrary figure, the parishes that will lose out are those doing their best to pull out all the stops."

Jones added that some parishes in her diocese were reclaiming Gift Aid on 95 per cent of their total gifts. Bill Lane, treasurer of St Peter's Church in Peter Tavy, Devon, raised similar concerns last month.

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