Government invites public comment on the Small Charitable Donations Bill

Leader of the House Sir George Young says people with expertise in the area can use a special web page to put forward their views

Sir George Young, the leader of the House of Commons
Sir George Young, the leader of the House of Commons

The government has opened up to public comment the Small Charitable Donations Bill, which is intended to enable charities to claim Gift Aid-type payments on small donations of up to £5,000 a year without individual paperwork.

It is only the second time the government has invited comments from the public as a bill goes through parliament. The first time it happened was with the Protection of Freedoms Bill last year.

A special web page has been set up where people can read the bill and related information, comment on specific clauses and suggest amendments.

The bill will introduce the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which will enable charities and community amateur sports clubs to claim Gift Aid-style payments on small donations of up to £20 without individual Gift Aid declarations. The bill was introduced to parliament in June and the scheme, which has been criticised by charity leaders for being too complicated, is due to start in April 2013.

A written statement from Sir George Young, the leader of the House of Commons, said lobby groups and other third parties already participated as a bill went through parliament.

"But there are thousands of other private citizens who may have expertise in a certain area but either don’t know how to or are unwilling to use the current channels to get involved in providing MPs with their views," he said.

The site will be open until 23 August, after which the views submitted will be collated into a report and presented to the Public Bill Committee.

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