Fourteen voluntary sector chief executives have sent a joint letter to the Chancellor, George Osborne, urging him to introduce a series of measures to help charities in next month’s Budget.
The suggestions include a second round of the Transition Fund, which has awarded £107m to charities, reform of payroll giving and Gift Aid, and support for social investment.
Leaders of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Acevo, Navca, the Charity Finance Directors' Group, the Institute of Fundraising, the Charities Aid Foundation and Social Enterprise UK are among the signatories.
The letter says charities are losing jobs at twice the rate of the public sector, and are "still being hit disproportionately by the worsening financial climate and the speed and scale of cuts in public expenditure".
"We understand that we cannot be immune from spending cuts, but are publicly asking you to put in place a set of simple measures designed to enable the sector to weather the current financial storm," it says.
The letter says a second round of the Transition Fund should focus on charities that provide early intervention to disadvantaged groups in disadvantaged areas.
It also calls for "a greater sense of urgency" on moves to simplify and modernise the administrative structures for giving, particularly around Gift Aid and payroll giving.
The letter specifically calls for the introduction of a universal online donor declaration system for Gift Aid to make it easier to claim. It also asks the government to work with the voluntary sector to increase payroll giving to 10 per cent of all employees.
The leaders also call for government to take a series of actions to improve charities’ ability to access social investment, including widening the scope of Community Investment Tax Relief, a specialist relief for social investors, and reforming other mainstream tax reliefs, such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme, to make it easier for charity and social enterprise to take advantage of them.
The full list of signatories
- Sir Stephen Bubb, Acevo
- Caron Bradshaw, Charity Finance Directors’ Group
- Justin Davis Smith, Volunteering England
- David Emerson, Association of Charitable Foundations
- Sir Stuart Etherington, National Council for Voluntary Organisations
- Vandna Gohil, Voice4Change England
- Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK
- Joe Irvin, Navca
- Peter Lewis, Institute of Fundraising
- John Low, Charities Aid Foundation
- Cliff Prior, UnLtd
- David Robinson, Community Links
- Caroline Slocock, Civil Exchange
- Steve Wyler, Locality