BY Ian Dunn | March 24 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Charities see pluses and minuses in Chancellor’s Budget

Protesters use George Osbourne’s plans as an opportunity to build public support ahead of the March for the Alternative this Saturday

There has been a mixed response to Chancellor George Osbourne’s Budget from the charitable sector.

The Ecumenical charity Church Action on Poverty (CAP) said the Chancellor (above) has done nothing ‘to help the poor and vulnerable people who are about to suffer the worst effects of the Government’s programme of cuts.’ However the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the voluntary sectors specialist finance body which works with Catholic groups like CAFOD, welcomed Budget plans for an expansion of Gift Aid.

A charity Church Action on Poverty spokesman said much of the Budget would hurt the disadvantaged.

“George Osborne has completely failed to acknowledge the genuine hardship that millions of people in this country are now facing,” the Niall Cooper said. “The Budget speech did not make a single mention of people in poverty, or of the huge cuts which are about to affect the benefits system. The Government has not kept its promise to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from the impact of its spending cuts.

“In today’s Budget, George Osborne chose to focus on tax breaks and other measures designed to benefit businesses. There were no measures to protect people in poverty, and no serious commitment to make wealthy individuals or corporations pay a fairer share of the cost of reducing the deficit.”

In contrast John Low, CAF chief executive, welcomed new moves that would allow charities to claim Gift Aid on small donations of up 5000 pounds and increase the Gift Aid benefit limit from £500 to £2,500.

“The chancellor has today delivered for charities and those who want to support them,” Mr Low said. “The commitment to bring Gift Aid into the 21st century will revolutionise this important tax relief and go a long way towards reducing the £750m that goes unclaimed each year. We are also pleased to see they have implemented our recommendation to remove restrictions around thanking donors.”

Protests were held across Britain yesterday while the Chancellor gave his budget speech in the House of Commons.

Protesters against the coalition government’s cuts policies are yesterday’s announcements as an opportunity to build public support ahead of the March for the Alternative in London this Saturday.

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