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Economics no image

Published on April 27th, 2012 | by Jordan Gray
Image © [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="567" caption="© conservativeparty"][/caption]   For a government that has received more criticism than any other of recent times, it is no surprise that the criticism towards George Osborne’s proposed cap on tax relief for charities has risen at an astonishing pace. Lord Fink, the millionaire Conservative party treasurer who is leading the backlash, has said it would put the wealthy off giving to charities, and as a consequence they will lose out on one-off big donations. Fink is just one of the many Conservative MP’s protesting against his own Chancellor; Senior Tory David Davis has said that if the aim was to prevent tax avoidance, it would be better to ensure schemes were approved by the Charity Commission. In what seems like yet another example of this government giving with one hand and taking with the other, there certainly needs to be a crackdown on tax-avoidance for the rich – but not at the expense of genuine charitable donations. Fink, himself a generous charitable donator, has admitted that not only will an estimated forty of the biggest donors cut their annual gifts, but he will be forced to reduce his own. Osborne is certainly right to blockade the tax avoidance of the rich, but so soon after the unconvincing promises made after the cut to the 50p tax band he is in danger of making too many right turns and ending up where he, and this coalition, started. Not only does it seem as if the April budget was a ‘Cash For Cameron’ scheme to those who don’t fall under the rich-friend list of Mr. Osborne, it seems now those friends who are generous enough to donate a fraction of their million pound fortunes will be feeling a little less generous than usual. A consortium of 46 wealthy donors signed a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, which urged a drastic U-turn – something this government is no stranger to doing. “The proposal in the budget to cap charity tax reliefs is a brake on philanthropy that may deter future donations. It is confusing and dispiriting, and we urge the Prime Minister and chancellor to think again.” With this said, how can the same government who invented the equally confusing, and more highly criticised, ‘Big Society” plan now act in such a detrimental fashion to a sector which can only be at the heart of such a caring, considerate idea? This cap on charity tax relief seems to be nothing more than the Chancellor’s attempt at climbing out of the hole their budget left them in; only by clawing at the sides they’re making their escape increasingly unlikely. Don’t let this thinly veiled rescue attempt fool you – this could well be the decision that costs the government most dearly, and it certainly seems that way to the rich, the poor, the middle, philanthropists, donors, you name it: this is a “tax without friends.” With unemployment figures at an all-time high, students being put off from going to university due to the ridiculous cost of tuition fees, and more strikes around wage-orientated issues than ever before, it is now harder than ever for people to give to charity. With some charities needing to raise over £100 million every year just to continue their work, Osborne needs to pull his head out from the sand and take a good look around before he thinks he can escape with such an unnecessary and damaging budget plan. One thing is for sure though, when the public discover the damage this will do to the UK charity sector, the blood will certainly be on Osborne’s hands – without any of his rich friends to wipe it on.

3

Time to Re-Fink the Charity Tax Relief Cap, George

© conservativeparty

 

For a government that has received more criticism than any other of recent times, it is no surprise that the criticism towards George Osborne’s proposed cap on tax relief for charities has risen at an astonishing pace. Lord Fink, the millionaire Conservative party treasurer who is leading the backlash, has said it would put the wealthy off giving to charities, and as a consequence they will lose out on one-off big donations.

Fink is just one of the many Conservative MP’s protesting against his own Chancellor; Senior Tory David Davis has said that if the aim was to prevent tax avoidance, it would be better to ensure schemes were approved by the Charity Commission. In what seems like yet another example of this government giving with one hand and taking with the other, there certainly needs to be a crackdown on tax-avoidance for the rich – but not at the expense of genuine charitable donations.

Fink, himself a generous charitable donator, has admitted that not only will an estimated forty of the biggest donors cut their annual gifts, but he will be forced to reduce his own.

Osborne is certainly right to blockade the tax avoidance of the rich, but so soon after the unconvincing promises made after the cut to the 50p tax band he is in danger of making too many right turns and ending up where he, and this coalition, started. Not only does it seem as if the April budget was a ‘Cash For Cameron’ scheme to those who don’t fall under the rich-friend list of Mr. Osborne, it seems now those friends who are generous enough to donate a fraction of their million pound fortunes will be feeling a little less generous than usual.

A consortium of 46 wealthy donors signed a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, which urged a drastic U-turn – something this government is no stranger to doing.

“The proposal in the budget to cap charity tax reliefs is a brake on philanthropy that may deter future donations. It is confusing and dispiriting, and we urge the Prime Minister and chancellor to think again.” With this said, how can the same government who invented the equally confusing, and more highly criticised, ‘Big Society” plan now act in such a detrimental fashion to a sector which can only be at the heart of such a caring, considerate idea?

This cap on charity tax relief seems to be nothing more than the Chancellor’s attempt at climbing out of the hole their budget left them in; only by clawing at the sides they’re making their escape increasingly unlikely. Don’t let this thinly veiled rescue attempt fool you – this could well be the decision that costs the government most dearly, and it certainly seems that way to the rich, the poor, the middle, philanthropists, donors, you name it: this is a “tax without friends.”

With unemployment figures at an all-time high, students being put off from going to university due to the ridiculous cost of tuition fees, and more strikes around wage-orientated issues than ever before, it is now harder than ever for people to give to charity. With some charities needing to raise over £100 million every year just to continue their work, Osborne needs to pull his head out from the sand and take a good look around before he thinks he can escape with such an unnecessary and damaging budget plan. One thing is for sure though, when the public discover the damage this will do to the UK charity sector, the blood will certainly be on Osborne’s hands – without any of his rich friends to wipe it on.

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About the Author

Jordan Gray

Jordan is currently a student at the University of Sussex where he is studying for a Master’s degree in English, with a particular focus on Kleinian psychoanalysis and Modernist writing. He studied for his undergraduate degree in Liverpool, where he spent three years writing as a political journalist for the city's student newspaper, The Looprevil Press. He has previously written for The Times, where he worked on the weekend desk, and The Daily Mail, where he worked on the City & Finance desk. Jordan’s writing is heavily influenced by liberal ideas and he has developed a writing style that typically leans towards the political left wing. Jordan became a political journalist in order to provide young people with a more accessible platform for discovering the aspects of politics that affects them, at a time when voter turnout amongst 18-25 year olds has seen record lows.



  • Robert Bickers

    I agree with you that the political motivation for the changes is to divert the public’s attention from the completely unnecessary cut in the 50p rate of tax. But I would argue that the fundamental principle behind this change is sound. Under the old system of unlimited tax relief on charitable giving the rich could avoid paying tax by donating to charity. This is wrong because everyone should contribute to the running of the state regardless of how much they contribute to society through charitable giving. I agree that it would be a disaster to remove all tax relief but the old system must be changed. A cahnge from the old system would both raise more to cut the deficit and be compatible with the principle that all must finance the state who can afford to.

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  • Harry

    I sure hope they've sorted this one out. I'd hate to see the local charities in new york city get hit by the backlash of such conflict.

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