Charities renewed their call for the Government to listen to the overwhelming demands to exempt charity donations from the planned cap on tax reliefs in the wake of u-turns over VAT on hot takeaway food and static caravans.
They called on Ministers to think again as a new poll showed that the overwhelming majority of the public believe charities cannot be expected to fill gaps in public services if Ministers cap tax relief on major donations which support their work.
The ComRes Survey, commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation, also found people were worried that plans to cap tax relief on donations undermined the Government’s concept of a Big Society.
Charities have strongly backed the Government’s commitment to increasing giving and promoting voluntary work through the idea of a “Big Society”.
But the survey found that more than three quarters of people warn that the Government cannot expect charities to play a greater role in delivering public services while also trying to cap tax relief on big donations.
Nearly two thirds of people said that the proposed cap on charitable tax reliefs contradicts the Prime Minister’s vision of a Big Society. And nearly six out of 10 agree that Government cuts are undermining the idea of a Big Society.
Overall, a clear majority of people (61%) oppose the Government’s proposal to cap tax reliefs for charitable donations, including most Conservative (53%) and Liberal Democrat voters (64%)
More than 1,000 charities have backed the campaign against the tax relief cap, warning that it will hinder the ability of charities to carry out important work in areas such as social care, medical research and treatment, higher education and the arts.
The survey found:
• More than three quarters (76%) of people agreed that the government cannot expect charities to play a greater role in service provision while at the same time introducing a cap on charitable tax relief
• Nearly two thirds of people (61%) agree that the proposed cap on charitable tax relief contradicts the Prime Minister’s vision of a Big Society
• More than seven out of ten (71%) agree that charities are being forced to fill the gaps in public services left by public sector cuts
• Three quarters (75%) agree that in the current economic climate, it is more important than ever that the government supports charities
• Nearly six out of 10 (59%) agree that Government cuts are undermining the idea of a big society
John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:
“The Government has shown it is prepared to listen on issues like the pasty tax and the caravan tax. Now is the time for them to listen to charities, donors and their own supporters to do the right thing and exempt charitable donations from the damaging tax cap.
“The Prime Minister’s vision of a Big Society could be transformational, but risks being undermined by measures such as the cap on tax relief for charitable donations.
“We are fully behind that idea of encouraging people to give their time and money to good causes that benefit others, and want to support the Government in making their vision of social action a reality.
“This survey shows that the public are worried that the Government’s idea of a Big Society is undermined by measures such as the proposed cap on tax relief for donations to charity.
“We are sure that Ministers do not want to see the idea of a Big Society undermined at a time when charities are facing financial pressure and increasing demand for services. We want to work with the Prime Minister and the coalition Government to promote an even more generous giving society.
“It is important that Government gives charities the backing they need to make the vision of a Big Society a reality, which is why they must exempt charities from the cap on tax relief so charities can play the biggest possible part in keeping vital services running in these times of austerity.”
* ComRes surveyed 2044 GB adults online between 27 April and 29 April 2012. Data were weighted to be fully nationally representative. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.