Lobbying by umbrella groups intensifies on Small Charitable Donations Bill

The bill would introduce the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which IoF chief Peter Lewis says is too complicated

Peter Lewis
Peter Lewis

Third sector umbrella bodies have stepped up campaigning to get the Small Charitable Donations Bill amended before its second reading in parliament next Tuesday.

Organisations including the Institute of Fundraising and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations are calling for parts of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which will be introduced in the bill, to be scrapped because they say it is too complex to help small charities.

That GASDS, which was announced in the 2011 Budget, is intended to allow charities to claim Gift Aid-like payments on small cash donations of under £20, up to a total of £5,000 a year, without individual declarations.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, yesterday wrote to Treasury minister Chloe Smith outlining his concerns about the scheme.

Lewis said in the letter: "The eligibility conditions are overly complex and controls seems disproportionate to the amount of money that might be claimed by charities, which is a maximum of £1,250 at current rates."

He said the requirement that charities must have been claiming Gift Aid for three years before they can benefit was likely to be a "massive barrier" to participation.

Lewis told Third Sector: "We are hoping to achieve the changes because they are so fundamental. We support the government’s objective, but we think the way it has been drafted is not going to achieve its objectives and is a missed opportunity."

The Charity Finance Group and the NCVO have prepared a joint parliamentary briefing, which went to more than 40 MPs.

Chloe Stables, parliamentary manager at the NCVO, said: "We are stepping up our campaign ahead of the second reading. We are running an awareness campaign and hoping some MPs will raise our concerns."

Stables said the NCVO and the CFG would be holding a drop-in session for MPs on Monday so they can discuss the issues in the bill.

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