Sector steels itself as Chancellor prepares to address parliament

Voluntary organisations will be listening keenly to George Osborne's autumn statement this afternoon, which is expected to include cuts that will affect the sector

Voluntary sector organisations are looking out for announcements on business rates, local government budgets and any possible changes to funding for the Big Lottery Fund in today’s speech to parliament by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

The Chancellor will reveal his plans this afternoon in a combined comprehensive spending review and autumn statement.

His announcements are expected to contain large cuts in areas that are likely to affect voluntary sector organisations – including local government, from which about half of all government spending on charities currently comes.

Charities will also be looking out for any announcements arising from the government’s review of business rates and whether there will be any changes to the reliefs that charities receive – currently worth some £1.5bn a year to the sector.

Some observers are concerned that control over the 80 per cent mandatory relief that charities receive might be devolved to local government level, where councils are likely to be looking for opportunities to maximise their budgets.

The sector will also be keen to discover if there is any substance to rumours of changes to the share of National Lottery funds given to the Big Lottery Fund.

A group known as Save Big Lottery warned earlier this month that the Treasury was planning to cut £320m a year of funding for the Big Lottery Fund and transfer it to fund the arts, heritage and sport in order to make up for cuts at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Any changes to anti-avoidance measures that might affect charities and adjustments to the VAT regime will also be scrutinised by the sector.

Visit for updates on the announcements affecting charities later this afternoon, or follow us on Twitter using @ThirdSector.

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