2012 Budget: The gift that keeps on taking

With the Give It Back George campaign in full flow, Karl Wilding warned me that my first week at NCVO could be rather busy and so it proved to be.

Today we received confirmation from the Treasury that their new cap on tax reliefs will hit community investment as well as philanthropy. This news serves only to darken the clouds already looming over the social sector. Charities and social enterprises are facing a perfect storm: more people need their help, but their income is being hit on all sides.

Meanwhile, what the cap on tax reliefs won’t affect, the Chancellor was keen to explain in his Budget, is business. Indeed, the Budget confirmed an increase in the available tax relief for investors in certain companies (through the EIS). This is obviously a good thing, contributing to private sector growth and new jobs.

But what the economy needs now is growth in all directions – the social sector included. For the 2 million people employed in the sector and their many millions of beneficiaries, it is incredibly galling to hear charities and their supporters tarred with the brush of tax avoidance and irresponsibility, rather than recognised for their vital contribution to Britain’s economic and social wellbeing.

A fair and just budget would not have singled out philanthropists and investors in disadvantaged communities in this way. And it is of course not just they who will lose out, but all of us who benefit from the work of charities and other social sector organisations.

I can’t think of a better time to be joining an organisation that stands up for a stronger civil society and a more social economy.

NCVO Policy Team’s blog

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Charlotte Ravenscroft was NCVO’s head of policy and public services. Charlotte’s wrote about funding, public service delivery, and strengthening the evidence base for voluntary action. She has also worked at The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Education.

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