Budget 2015: Key points for Charities

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Chancellor George Osborne delivered his pre-election Budget on 18 March 2015 which included several announcements affecting charities and not for profit organisations.

Some of the key points include:

  • The limit for charities to claim gift aid on small donations will increase from £5,000 to £8,000;
  • Funds for new helicopters will be provided for several air ambulances across the UK and a grant will be available for charities providing rapid response vehicles for medical purposes;
  • A refund of VAT to certain charities that transport blood and other medical services;
  • £1million will be used to buy defibrillators for public places and support training in their use;
  • £40 million will be added to the Church Roof Fund to support church roof appeals;
  • Personal tax allowances will be increased from £10,600 to £10,800 in 2016 and to £11,000 in 2017, which may have an effect on the number of people who can claim Gift Aid; and
  • Charity Authorised Investment Funds will be introduced, which benefit from an exemption from VAT on investment management fees, as well as the usual registered charity tax benefits, and which are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

There was no mention of the Local Sustainability Fund on which the government consulted last year with the aim of supporting voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, the omission of which several sector leaders feel is unacceptable. Although the above reliefs, refunds and grants will make a difference to many charities, the nationwide response in the voluntary sector suggests that this is just the tip of the iceberg and more significant changes are needed to make a real difference.

You can read the full Budget document here and the Chancellor's speech here.