The government is considering "radical changes" to payroll giving in a bid to improve take-up of the scheme, but has ruled out making it mandatory for employers, according to Sajid Javid, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
Speaking at the Payroll Giving Conference at the Home Office in London today, Javid said he hoped to make an announcement in August in response to the government’s consultation on payroll giving, which closed on 19 April.
The consultation had more than 100 responses and almost all of them said the scheme was underused and could be expanded, he said. But he said he was unable to specify the proposals the government was thinking about.
"There are some pretty radical changes we are considering," he said. "We don’t believe there should be a mandatory process on companies to force them to have a payroll-giving scheme. That kind of mandatory stick is not something we are doing.
"We want to encourage people to give rather than feel they are being forced into it. We are considering some ideas and responses to the consultation proposals. We want it to be radical and make a substantial difference."
Javid said he had written to all of his parliamentary colleagues to urge them to sign up to payroll giving after discovering that only nine MPs give through the scheme and the Treasury itself has a take-up rate of only 9 per cent.
The Treasury has relaunched its own payroll-giving scheme this week in a bid to get more of its employees involved, he said."I want to reassure you, we are very passionate about payroll giving," he said. Javid said he became involved with the scheme through his former employer, Deutsche Bank, which had a "very radical programme" in which payroll giving was part of each employee’s annual assessment.