Response: autumn budget 2018

More scattergun than strategic

Ahead of the budget ACEVO joined with a number of other membership and infrastructure bodies, collectively representing tens of thousands of charities across England and Wales to write to the Chancellor asking not for handouts but for long-term strategic investment in civil society that would build thriving, resilient communities. But, as has come to be expected, the role of charities in the budget was reduced to welcome but somewhat scattergun announcements about specific pots of money for specific causes.

Civil Society has so much more to offer, not least a connection with the many people across the country still struggling financially, despite the Chancellor’s declaration that ‘austerity is coming to an end.’ The tone of the budget felt out of touch with a sector whose leaders are telling us about rising demands for services and that many of the people they work with do not see the economic up-turn that has been much discussed by government.

There was progress for activists and charities campaigning to reduce single use plastics and stop the harm caused by universal credit. While neither announcement went as far as many would like, the Chancellor’s announcements demonstrate the importance of charity campaigning in generating real positive social change.

Much like the civil society strategy, the budget set out a more positive vision from government than in recent years, but the substance is yet to be seen.

The charity headline announcements [1]

  • £10m to support veterans with mental health needs;
  • £1.7 million for educational programmes in schools to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camps;
  • £10m of capital funding for air ambulances in England;
  • up to £8 million to help with the cost of repairs and alterations to village halls, Miners’ Welfare facilities and Armed Forces organisations’ facilities; and
  • £15 million to charities and others to distribute surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.
  • An increase to the upper limit for trading that charities can carry out without incurring a tax liability from:
    • £5,000 to £8,000 where turnover is under £20,000, and
    • £50,000 to £80,000 where turnover exceeds £200,000

The Budget in detail

For an accessible, detailed breakdown of the financial implications for charities please read Charity Finance Group’s comprehensive briefing, and if you would like to read the budget in full, you can find it on the government’s website.

[1] https://www.charitylegalupdate.co.uk/2018/11/budget-2018-what-do-charities-need-to-know.html

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