7 days is a long time in philanthropy

Just over a week ago, I was relaxing after giving one of the final lectures on my ‘Fundraising and Philanthropy’ course, anticipating the chance to get out and enjoy the sunny weather. Readers, I was wrong. That afternoon, George Osborne gave his Budget and dropped the bombshell of a new cap on all personal tax reliefs.

If the sun has shone since that fateful day, I would’t know about it (though I haven’t put in nearly as many hours as the heroic Karl Wilding at NCVO who launched the GiveItBackGeorge campaign before Osborne had sat down).

Unlike colleagues who immediately understood this was madness and all efforts had to be immediately activated to stop it, I originally thought it was just a mistake. Given the iron core of pro-philanthropy sentiment running through this government, they couldn’t possibly mean to include charity reliefs in the cap, and as soon as they realised their mistake they’d issue a clarification and we could all go back to sunbathing. Reader, I was very wrong again.

When Third Sector magazine reported HMRC had confirmed they did indeed mean to include charity reliefs, my heart sank even further and I realised the extent of the battle now being faced by everyone who cares about promoting a philanthropic culture in this country.

For now, the focus is on doing the maths and explaining the complex issue of tax reliefs in as simple a way as possible, to prove that this cap will hurt charities and their beneficiaries. Everybody’s brain is aching – mine more than most as I don’t count numeracy amongst my limited range of skills. So three cheers for Rhodri Davies of the Charities Aid Foundation, who has written this superb blog containing worked-out examples of the impact of the Budget measures on giving. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

For those of us who are tired, innumerate and still reeling with disbelief, there is something we can do that doesn’t involve being as clever as Rhodri or as irrepressible as Karl: Click onto this page right now and back the GiveItBackGeorge campaign.


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