IoF's Peter Lewis urges political parties to make gift aid commitment on society lotteries

The measure, announced by the Institute of Fundraising chief executive, will be included in the umbrella body's manifesto before the general election

Peter Lewis
Peter Lewis

The Institute of Fundraising plans to call on the government and the main opposition parties to commit to allowing gift aid to be claimed on society lottery tickets.

The IoF’s manifesto, which will be launched at its annual convention in London on 7 July, will be used to lobby MPs, officials, ministers and shadow ministers in the run-up to the general election in 2015.

Speaking at the IoF Payroll Giving Conference at the Home Office in London yesterday, Peter Lewis, chief executive of the umbrella body, said: "Members have asked us to look at society lotteries and whether, quite radically, we can claim gift aid on society lottery tickets – seeing it as a gift rather than just the purchase of a lottery ticket. That’s a longer-term aim and we’re already having some conversations about that."

He said another priority was asking the government to review the 80:20 rule surrounding society lotteries. The rule stipulates that charities running lotteries must receive at least 20 per cent of the income after expenses and the prize draw are deducted, something that has proved challenging for some organisations because of the cost of running lotteries.

The IoF is calling for the 80:20 calculations to be made on a charity’s entire lottery programme over the course of three years, rather than one.

The IoF also plans to ask the government to consider reversing corporate gift aid so that charities rather than donor companies receive the tax relief on amounts donated.

"That would increase income for charities and we think take-up by corporates would be just as solid," said Lewis. "And it is cash-neutral for the Treasury because it’s just moving money from corporates into charities."

Nicky Morgan, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, was also speaking at the conference. She said that payroll giving was not as widespread as the government would like it to be and that one of the factors preventing it from being taken up more was the lack of available information about the donations, the charities benefiting, donors and employers.

She said she wanted charities to promote the scheme more widely because thousands of employees did not know it existed. "You should really be targeting areas and individuals that can help to improve take-up," she said.

When asked why take-up among MPs themselves was so low, Morgan said that getting celebrities to talk about payroll giving would have as much traction as MPs. She said that the best time to lobby MPs to give through payroll would be just after the general election.

Susannah Birkwood

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