The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations has added its voice to calls for the reform of Gift Aid in its election manifesto.
Doing Things Differently, launched today at the Gathering conference in Edinburgh, urges political parties to simplify Gift Aid and VAT, which could enable the voluntary sector in the UK to recover between £400m and £500m a year.
It calls for changes to Gift Aid, such as replacing the ‘opt-in' system for donors with an ‘opt-out' approach, and bringing in a composite Gift Aid rate of 33 per cent for all taxpayers. The umbrella body also wants a streamlined system for charities to reclaim VAT.
The manifesto says using National Lottery funding for public and private sector projects is "not acceptable" and says all lottery funds should be ring-fenced for the voluntary and community sector.
Martin Sime, chief executive of the SCVO, said: "The third sector is resourceful, innovative and adaptable, yet too often it is hampered by red tape and unnecessary barriers to action.
"Government must now remove these barriers and enable not only more funding but better, longer-term funding, which will provide a stronger foundation for growth in the third sector."