The government should consider setting up “charitable action zones” that would feature bonuses on donations to charities in those areas , a new report suggests.
The Policies of Belonging, published by the think tank Onward, says that communities need to be “levelled up” in order to repair decaying social fabric.
The document says areas where “a fraying social fabric has become ingrained” need concerted, localised support.
Voluntary activity in those areas could be encouraged by the establishment of “charitable action zones”, where organisations would receive additional perks on donations made.
Charities in the proposed zones could benefit from ideas such as tax relief on corporate donations made to them, the report suggests.
“The government could match Gift Aid donations to charities registered in specific areas directly from the taxpayer, to give philanthropists an incentive to support causes in the specific parts of the country that need the most support or have the public will,” it says.
A further reduction in the rate of inheritance tax paid by people giving at least 10 per cent of their estate to a charity that carried out the bulk of its activity in a charitable zone should also be considered, the report says.
“While politicians rightly place a great deal of emphasis on the economic divide in our country, the disparity in social fabric is at least as great and requires an interlinked programme of policy to correct it,” the report says. “Put simply, we need to level up communities too.”
The project was supported by a cross-party steering group of MPs and policy experts chaired by the Conservative peer Lord James O’Shaughnessy.