The main points for charities from the Budget

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, presented his autumn Budget to the House of Commons today

Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond

A change to Gift Aid donor benefit rules and the final tranche of charity funding from Libor fines were among the announcements affecting the voluntary sector in today's autumn Budget. 

Documents released by the Treasury after the Chancellor's Budget speech in parliament this afternoon show the government will reduce from three to two the monetary thresholds setting out the value of benefits that charities can give a supporter as a result of a donation and still claim Gift Aid on that gift. 

The change will mean that from April 2019 benefits can be worth up to 25 per cent of the value of donations of up to £100 and worth up to 5 per cent on donations of more than £100, the Charity Tax Group said. 

The government announced the recipients of the last £36m that would go to organisations including armed forces and rescue charities from funds raised through fines levied on banks after the Libor rigging scandal. 

It takes the total given out to good causes from the Libor fund since 2012 to £773m. 

The government also announced a scheme to enable charities that provide on-the-scene care after serious accidents to recover VAT through a grant

The move is expected to bring the situation for accident rescue charities into line with similar charities, such as air ambulances and search-and-rescue charities, which already receive VAT refunds on goods and services.

Despite fears that charities would be affected by further increases in the rate of insurance premium tax, it appears have been frozen until at least 2022/23, according to income forecasts from the tax published by the Treasury today. 

But calls from charities to exempt the sector from IPT went unheeded. 

The threshold at which organisations lose their exemption from VAT registration will not be changed for at least the next two years, the Chancellor announced. There had been speculation that this threshold was to be reduced from £85,000 to £20,000 in order to bring it in line with the rest of Europe, which would have affected some smaller charities. 

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, told the House of Commons that local authorities in London would be able to retain 100 per cent of business rates collected as part of a pilot scheme next year. This might mean councils in the capital are less likely to give a voluntary exemption to charities on the 20 per cent of business rates they are required to pay. 

Steve Reed, the shadow minister for civil society, said the lack of announcements for charities in the Budget showed that the government's strategy for the voluntary sector was to ignore it. 

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