Big Win for Small Charities: No Cuts to Big Lottery Fund
The Prime Minister David Cameron pre-empted the Chancellor George Osborn when he announced during Question Time that the feared cut in the proportion of funds going to good causes via the Big Lottery Fund would not be cut. Thereby upholding the principle of ‘additionality’ which was built into the provision of funds for all good causes through the National Lottery.
small charity members who made their views known to the very many local MP’s who I am sure passed those views on to Ministers.
Small charities have welcomed the Chancellors commitment to ensure the continued support of the work of thousands of small charities across Britain through protecting the proportion of funds going to support good causes.
For those of you who come along to our training events up and down the UK you know how passionate I am about joining together to amplify our voice. This was one occasion that we did and it made a huge difference. I also want to thank NCVO and ACEVO for taking the lead and supporting organisations like the FSI to help make this happen. We now know what we can do when we come together, let’s make sure this is a first and that our voices join together more frequently over what, without a doubt, will be challenging times ahead.
So what else is on the small charity HORIZON?
Office of Civil Society Departmental spending cuts
Whilst there was lots of good news for certain charities, specifically armed services charities, museums and women's charities, we must not be unaware that the real impact of the chancellor's spending review for the sector will be felt through cuts to Department for Communities and Local Government's budget. Many small charities rely on funding from their Local Authority and so cuts, which seem set to fall by £6.1 billion in cash terms over the next five years will have a significant impact on for small charities delivering public services locally.
Funding for the Charity Commission is being held at £20 million in cash terms – an 8% cut real terms by 2019/20. It is likely that there will be a renewed call for charities to contribute to the running costs through some form of charging. We will have to wait and watch this space for what happens next.
Small Donations Scheme
The gift aid small donations scheme review will brought forward, and there will be a call for evidence from this December (2015), to which we’ll be responding. This scheme was specifically designed for small charities but the take up, it seems, has been poor with only £23 million claimed to March 2015 against an expected £123 million. This is scheme is extremely valuable to the small charity sector and we really must use it - so we want to work with you to give a strong voice during the review.
No clarity on charitable reliefs until the March budget, but this issue is a sleeping giant for us all and so we need to make sure that we are well prepared to make our views known. As a small charity ourselves we know how vital this relief is to us and all small charities. We will be giving you more information on how any changes to reliefs, particularly mandatory relief will affect you.
U-turn on tax credits
Perhaps the most notable wider announcement was the chancellor completely cancelling his plans to cut tax credits, causing him to breach his self-imposed welfare cap. He plans for welfare spending to fall back in line with the cap by the end of the parliament, largely as a result of further changes to housing benefit. Keep an eye out tomorrow for the IFS’s distributional analysis to see what the net effect on low-income households is likely to be.