Charities: The 2015 Budget

There were many analogies in the Chancellor’s budget to “fixing the roof while the sun shines”, but it appears that we can take him at his word as he announced a trebling of the monies set aside to support church roof appeals.

Air ambulance services and charities supporting veterans also look set to benefit from £75 million of fines imposed on Banks over the LIBOR scandal.

All good causes, but one announcement is likely to have a wider impact on the charities and not for profit sector.

The limit for claims made under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which enables charities to claim a Gift-Aid like payment on small donations, is to be increased from £5,000 to £8,000 a year from April 2016. Charities will be able to claim up to £2,000 of payments from HMRC under the scheme each year; the limit was previously £1,250.

Whilst welcome, some charity commentators have called for a review of the scheme itself to address its complexity and eligibility requirements that may be putting off many smaller organisations from claiming. It is understood that a review of the scheme is due to take place in 2016.

The elephant in the room remains, however.

With George Osborne committed to his deficit reduction plan there is likely to be continued pressure on local authority budgets. The knock-on effect for those dependent on local public sector grants or service level agreements may well be cuts in income and reduced contract periods. Driving efficiency will be key to maximise the impact on beneficiaries and collaborative working looks likely to increase.