Is charity always a good thing?

 

            British people are generous by nature. Whenever there is a natural disaster or an o0verseas tragedy, volunteers pour in to help, and money is pledged rapidly for immediate relief of the crisis.

              Large companies usually have a charity of the year to support, and often work with local charities in communities where they have a presence.  MPs, sports and media celebrities and others are encouraged to assist charities raise money and do good works.

                       Government does its bit by granting tax relief on all money routed through a recognised charity. People who avoid taxes in order to make larger charitable contributions are usually exempted from the general criticism of tax avoidance.

                   The big issue which bedevils public policy is what qualifies as a charity?  Time was when all educational institutions qualified, as education is said to be a charitable purpose. More recently the Charity Commissioners want proof of wider access to the wealth of successful public schools to justify the tax relief.

                Religion was also a general category which gave charitable status. Should charity cover all religious groupings, and all their activities?

                One of the big issues which requires judgement is where a charity overlaps with a political campaign to insist on a particular view of a problem being dominant in the formation of public policy. Political parties have never qualified as charities, yet single issue campaign groups can have charitable arms. What controls or limits should be placed on this? Generally, how much of a charities revenue should be available to spend on the charity itself, on self promotion, fund raising and the like?

 

 

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60 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Indeed many charities are highly dubious and spend far too much on administration and far too little on real good works. Why should we give tax relief to organisations promoting irrational belief systems for certain sections of the community. The other problem is governments using and funding charities as a further arm of indoctrination. Education fine but in what? Education in quack medicine or bonkers economic theories or new religions.

    Many are very professional outfits, knowing exactly what emotional strings to pull and images to show to fill the coffers then spend it largely on themselves.

    Still at least it gets some money away from government spending which is usually worse still. Perhaps on balance just get rid of all charitable tax reliefs and get tax rates down to sensible levels for all. 20% rather than 45% plus NI and 20% VAT and all the rest is hugely damaging to everyone.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      The shocking thing about many big institutional charities is how much money they get in govt grants. In some cases this greatly exceeds donations. The charity then focuses on political campaigns – carrying on proxy wars for politicians – and spending much of the money on its own costs including political campaigns. Needless to say global warming is foremost amongst political causes espoused by certain big charities. There should be much more publicity on this. I would not give to a charity which I knew got a lot of govt money.

      Separately, people (such as me) who would normally fast-forward through an interview with Ed Davey should watch his interview with Andrew Neil on the Sunday politics last week. Davey was pathetically inadequate and had no answers as to why global temperatures are not rising, falling back on non-points such as ‘the ice caps are melting’ (they aren’t), sea level is rising (it has since the end of the last ice age), and extreme weather events are increasing (there is no evidence for this). We must surely be very close now to the end of the great global warming scare. The Conservative party needs to wise up to this and change policies before the next election.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Indeed proxy wars for politicians wanting more power and other people’s money.

  2. Alte Fritz
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    The scheme of charity legislation remained recognisably the same from 1603 until 2006. New Labour decided to modernise it by behaving like a dodgy builder who demolishes supporting walls.

    If it remains a public policy aim that certain forms of giving and activity should enjoy tax breaks, then we need charity to promote the public good. We also need charity so that the state does not enjoy a monopoly of servicing the public good.

    New Labour modernising has now even made charities means of laundering drug money. Great swathes of charities are subject to no proper accounting. We should define the objects and return to the pre 2006 means of achieving them; they worked.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      I agree, but perhaps the best thing is just to get rid of nearly all such tax reliefs and just get taxes down to sensible levels of say 20% tops for all people, businesses and organisations.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Charities still have to promote a public benefit, the only difference is that now education and religion aren’t automatically considered a public benefit.

      Also the 2006 act has been replaced by the Charities Act 2011, so it there’ still a problem it’s not entirely due to Labour.

      • Alte Fritz
        Posted July 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        The 2011 Act was a consolidating measure. The point about the 2006 Act, as you say, was that the public benefit test was, effectively, moved into the hands of what became a politically motivated Commission.

    • Andrew Johnson
      Posted July 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but this simply isn’t so. Every charity with an income in excess of £100,000 a year must submit fully audited accounts. And the Charity Commisioners randomly select charities for forensic audit.

  3. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    The last question you pose is the one which many will grumble about when giving to a charity; that is how much will end up in the charity itself and how much will be given to staffing etc. yet one imagines that to be able to promote, organise, staff and distribute resource takes a lot of donations.

    There are a lot more outlets for collection of small change which are not being utilised at present. Many would clear out their pockets and purses of small change into collection tins in supermarkets , if the collection tins were there.

    Some religions ensure that 10 % of all their earnings go to charity. This is however not as free as I would like and slightly spoils the impulse to give in the first place. If we look at the expensive adverts on the TV asking for money for water and food in the third world and how many years this has been going on , we begin to wonder can charities actually ever change the plight of these people. Are these African countries contributing to changing society for themselves or are they just taking and living as a very divided nation in terms of resource and wealth? Are we being offensive in even thinking this? I believe that society has a responsibility to its citizens and we are civil enough to know that for example allowing unfortunates to spend icy nights out on the streets is a social crime and to ease the collective conscience there is always someone else to do it. There are so many empty houses boarded up and there are so many people still sleeping outside the door . I personally rail against the loss of dignity in these situations / yet simultaneously
    feel that charities also take dignity away, which is why state intervention was a more objective approach to these situations.
    The problem in politics is slightly different , although one can see the similarities between charitable organisations . The money for favours stance will always send vibes of collusion and sway, yet if there is a belief why not donate? The business side of sway you will probably understand Mr Redwood better than most and we on the outside really speak from a limited experience with an underlying suspicion of corruption.

    As events happen in our personal lives , we say how can this happen , how can they have got away with this or that? and we assume that it is not lack intelligence but corruption, yet we must have some faith in the charitable impulse as it does build for the better in some cases.

  4. Martin
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I don’t see why religion should be tax exempt. They try and interfere in the lives of non believers and expect non believers to subsidise them.

    Churches are fond of moral clamp downs but not so keen when it is their dodgy banks under the spotlight.

    Newspapers are another odd bunch when it comes to tax. No VAT for them. They want all sort of controls on the ISPs (who pay VAT) and yet the press don’t want those controls to apply to page three.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and the Bishops clearly should have no preferential place in The House of Lords or endlessly talking drivel on the BBC. They have no right to distort what is left of UK democracy in this way. They nearly always talk lefty, high tax nonsense emotion over logic every time with this self serving & dubious profession it seems.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 25, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: Would you be saying the same if they expunged (apparent) political views that were in agreement with your own take on the issues, sorry but religion is a bit like the BBC, when both left and right complain about the same content it is obvious were the real bias is occurring…

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          Nonsense why should someone have a preferential and additional input to government just because they claim to believe odd things in old books and wear interesting robes and hats?

          • Jerry
            Posted July 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: Why should anyone have such influence, what gives you any greater right to spout your own beliefs? But what has any of that got to do with the fact that you are simply objecting to anything that you do not personally like or think fit simply because you don’t seem to actually understand it – for all your (supposed) education.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      @Martin: Careful of unintended consequences, newspapers are not VAT free, paper and printed matter is VAT (which thus includes newspapers, magazines and books etc.), and in any case one can hardly compare “Page 3″, even the non top shelf lads-mags with the sort of internet content that the Daily Maul and the PM are talking about.

  5. David Price
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    I used to volunteer for a large well known charity, one that relied on 30,000+ volunteers. However, when I discovered from their accounts that a large chunk of their income came from government and the CEO paid himself in excess of £190K I decided to stop. I no longer give money directly to them since I have already given through my taxes and I no longer donate my time so a few execs can enrich themselves to such an extent from my and others generosity.

    I now limit my donations to specific causes where there is a clear line between need and donation such as Shelter Box, and only give my time where some individual who doesn’t even get their hands dirty won’t benefit financially.

    Charities should not be a means to avoid tax, any tax relief should be a consequence of acting as a charity. On that basis I could understand that a foundation or trust which supported pupils being a charity, but not the school unless all pupils were supported.

    Charity used to be seen as a Christian duty, a way to help those less fortunate. Now, it is big business amd career opportiunties for some who are far more fortunate.

  6. Narrow shoulders
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I am regularly amazed at the high cost of doing good.

    There may be a case for removing the tax allowances and exemptions on salaries over a certain level.

    Tbis applies not just to charities.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I have nothing to say on this subject.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Simple definintion of a Charity.

    Where all of the workers/members of that so called Charity/Organisation take no reward for their labour or time spent working for that Charity, and organise their own Fundraising activities themselves.

    Examples: Lions, Rotary.

    Both are Worldwide organisations with an excellent record, where the members pay their own expenses.

    If government wants to help encourage charites, then the way is through gift aid on donations, it is not through making donations/grants direct. or by paying wages or salaries.

    Far too many so called charities are either Quango’s, hidden Businesses, Lobby groups, or Consultation organisations, where a very, very small percentage of the money donated, is ever used for so called, good causes.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear.

      Too many charity execs making lots of money. Far more money than the people donating to them could ever dream of.

      This is highly unethical.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        PS, Money-giving charity is aplenty.

        What is lacking is people rolling their sleeves up and getting down the local scout group, church or drop-in center and digging the weeds, fixing the gutters, painting the window frames…

        Bringing the odd cake along or giving the odd fiver doesn’t really cut it.

        People giving ‘real’ charity is a very rare thing and they aren’t much appreciated for doing it.

        I will no longer do it while there is a honcho at the top on 100k a year.

        When did Britain all of a sudden become a nation of middle-class scamsters ?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted July 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        isnt Miliband senior going to a senior job in a charity in the US on a big fat salary?

      • David Price
        Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        What is unethical is that these charities with highly paid execs actually depend on the generosity of time and money from thousands of unpaid volunteers.

        (I tried to make this point in another comment but it seems to have come a cropper in moderation)

    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Quite right, far too many highly paid ‘charity’ CEOs……and also I doubt if the Bilderbergers should have access to charitable status either
      zorro

  9. JoolsB
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    “Government does it’s bit by granting tax relief on all money routed through a recognised charity. ”

    That’s a bit of an understatement isn’t John? What do you call the £13billion of taxpayers’ money the Government generously gives away on international aid on our behalf without even consulting us if it’s not charity?? Money which in these times of austerity could be used to help England’s young from starting off their working lives with crippling debts hanging over them if they dare to go to university or it could help England’s elderly who having worked all their lives but are still expected to sell their homes should they need care.

    Not only should charity begin at home but it should be an individual choice. The Great British public are a generous bunch and they don’t need politicians making grandiose gestures on their behalf. It would be interesting to know how much of their own money those millionaire politicians sitting on both sides of the house contribute to charity!!

  10. oldtimer
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Your last paragraph (the overlap with political campaigning) raises important issues. Many will be unaware of the extent some charities depend on, or are the conduit for, taxpayer funded government hand outs for substantial portions of their income. This can, I believe, be as much as 50% or more of their income. This should be explicitly declared (by the Chancellor in his annual statements) so that the public knows where their money is going. Some charities are used a conduits for foreign aid relief (Oxfam and Save The Children), others to promote or further aspects of government domestic social policy . It has been revealed that others have taken money to propagandise EU policy objectives (such as promoting the EU global warming agenda).

    In short some charities are used as tools to promote political objectives (funded with generous doses of taxpayer cash) even though that is not what they are supposed to do. Governments of all colours appear to do this. It is yet another aspect of the creeping, all-enveloping grip of Leviathan state over everything we are expected (or required) to do or put up with.

  11. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Charitable tax relief has some curious anomalies. For example, if I visit Kew Gardens several times a year I pay an entrance fee each time to get in. However, if I join the RHS paying an annual fee I get free entrance to Kew and the RHS gets “charitable giving” tax relief on that fee, and I personally can claim higher rate tax relief on it too. The outcome for me is I can visit Kew for much reduced rates compared with the general public. It is a case where I personally get a direct benefit by contributing to a charity. It seems crazy.

  12. Iain Gill
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Some things should be tax deductible whether they are done via a charity or not. Healthcare, food and clothes for children. Education. But to make it equitable these tax perks need to be available to everyone not just the few who pay school fees, for example.

    Some supposed charities at the moment are nothing of the sort. (criticises a specific charity where I have been unable to check the allegations ed)

    Re “Generally, how much of a charities revenue should be available to spend on the charity itself, on self promotion, fund raising and the like?” certainly they should not be able to pay a significant workforce to harass people in the street signing them up for direct debits. One of the hallmarks of a charity is much of the legwork signing supporters up being done by volunteers, not a paid workforce.

  13. waramess
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    How about something simple for a change. A very narrow prequalification to become a charity and then seperate tax free status for others, subject to an application and approval process.

    One size never fits all

  14. Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe an organisation is a charity if it derives a significant percentage of its income from governmental sources. Various “health” charities apparently receive a substantial proportion of their income from the NHS and public health organisations. There have been media reports of “charities” that have been set up by government with public money to campaign for an issue that the government would like us all to support. If true, this is a totally unjustified way of spending taxpayers’ money, and it should be stopped by the Charities’ Commission. I thought charities were not supposed to get involved in political campaigns, yet there are a number of charities which are pressing the government to increase foreign aid, which is surely a political matter.

  15. a-tracy
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Are there any expectations of wages control within the charities as a % of the total charitable organisation turnover? I wonder how many charities have a wage/pension contribution/Employers NI bill more than 25% of donations for the good cause?
    (Other than to pay for say the medical researchers i.e. the funds are being raised to pay for the research team.)

  16. David
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “Religion was also a general category which gave charitable status. Should charity cover all religious groupings, and all their activities?”
    Only religions which explicitly state that no sanctions will be taken against people who leave including sending them to Coventry.
    Etc ed

  17. Atlas
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Most so-called charities I see appear to be businesses run by people expecting to be paid a salary. Most charity shops and their supporting organisations come under that category. I find that the term Charity is now one that I shudder at when heard mentioned on the news.

  18. Peter
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    What really concerns me is the existence of various “charities” that receive taxpayer funding through government departments – and then campaign for things that those departments have wanted all along.

    It seems to me that these are not “charities” in any meaningful sense – more political lobbying organisations, which should not be getting any tax money at all.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    If a charity engages in any political campaigning, either directly or indirectly by helping to fund some other body or individual, then it should be instantly stripped of its charitable status and henceforth treated as a political organisation.

    By “political campaigning” is meant any attempt to change public policy, the law or public expenditure, not only at the national level but at local and regional levels and through the medium of external organisations such as the EU and the UN, or any attempt to influence voting intentions in any public election or referendum.

    That would be most of the big charities and numerous smaller charities declassified, as it seems that they simply cannot resist the temptation to stray from their proper charitable work into unwarranted interference in politics in an attempt to compel support from the population as a whole when the essence of charity is that is voluntary, springing from the heart not from legal or any other compulsion.

    But large numbers of genuine small charities, those not tempted to play politics, would continue to enjoy that special status.

  20. Peter Stroud
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Charitable institutions need to be reviewed on a regular basis. For example, how can the RSPCA retain charitable status after its blatant political behaviour regarding the hunting with dogs act? Furthermore, its involvement of its uniformed officers supporting police in dawn raids on pensioners suspected of inadequate care of their pets, is anything but charitable.

  21. uanime5
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Under the present law to qualify as a charity an organisation must:

    1) Perform a charitable purpose; such as reducing poverty; promoting education, arts, sports, environment, health, emergency services; or anything else recognises as charitable.

    2) Provide a public benefit; so a church open to all would qualify, while a convent only available to nuns would not.

    If a school allows all their pupils to attend for free it’s clearly providing a public benefit but when all or nearly all of their pupils have to pay thousands of pounds a year in fees it’s not providing a benefit to the general public. Therefore I’d recommend that the law be changes so that a school has to provide at least 40% of their pupils with a free education to qualify for charitable status.

    A charity should be treated like any other lobbyist group, though I would recommend more action be taken to tighten up the rules on lobbying.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Schools which provide education privately which would otherwise fall to the state to provide certainly offer public benefit. Moreover the existence of world class schools in the UK is of positive benefit, both as an economic activity and in order to provide constructive competition for the monopoly state sector. A better route to go would be to make every school in the country independent and provide vouchers so parents can choose. good schools would expand and bad schools close. Good teachers would be paid more and bad teachers leave the profession. That would really improve standards, as well as remove at a stroke the social distinction between private and state education.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Firstly a school that’s effectively only available to the rich isn’t providing a benefit to the general public, so there’s no reason for it to have charitable status.

        Secondly private schools don’t provide any competition as they only exist so the wealthy can buy their children a better education. So private schools are only competing with other private schools, not the state sector.

        Thirdly vouchers won’t work unless good schools can indefinitely expand because once the good schools are full then everyone else will have to go to the bad schools. It also ignores that good schools remain good by having a low pupil to teacher ratio, so they won’t want more pupils.

        Fourthly if vouchers have any effect on teacher’s salaries it will make it much harder for bad schools to get good teachers. Thus bad schools will always remain bad schools.

        Fifthly private schools attract pupils by claiming to be better state schools so private schools will fight against removing an social distinction because it will make them seem less prestigious.

        • Richard1
          Posted July 26, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

          Yours is the mindset which says let there be one state-owned restaurant or food shop in the town, private restaurants or shops would only be available for the rich and would deprive the state owned restaurant or shop from staff, best customers etc. Your system was tried in the soviet union for 70 years and was a disaster. Education, like every other service, needs customer choice and competition. It is not resources or teacher-pupil ratios which have done so much damage to state education in the UK, its the baleful influence of egalitarian politicians, the teaching unions, LEAs and teacher training colleges. Privatize the lot. Power to the people!

          • Edward2
            Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            I agree with every word you say Richard
            Its well past the time when the idea that socialism is the solution to poverty is exposed for the failure it so plainly is.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            As pointed out you before the sort of competition you are talking about works well in the takeaway industry, however in more complex areas such as roads healthcare or eduction it does not work as you want nor ever can as it is a simplistic right wing fantasy.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            Can you give any examples of where competition in these areas has been tried and has failed Baz?

          • Bazman
            Posted July 29, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            Err! The NHS internal competition fiasco. The trains. Need I go on? I will. The utilities in particular water, satellite TV and broadband internet the phone companies banking etc . All operating in a cartel like way as insider companies benefiting the few and certainly not the shareholder or the customer. Do give me your apologist fantasy answer to this. Edward MK II.

        • David Price
          Posted July 26, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          Name a school that is “only available to the rich”, ie one that does not offer scholarships or bursaries or any other financial support for the less well off.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            Eton would be tricky to get in if you were a poor girl.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 26, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          So the question is Uni, how do you give to all parents the standard of education that is now only available if bought by the rich or those who can afford to play the post code catchment game.
          It is sadly the current policy of many local education authorities to stop good schools expanding forcing parents to have their children posted to schools that are of a poor standard.
          The benefit of vouchers combined with schools becoming free to expand is that places at the better schools would increase to meet parent demand.
          Thus giving the poorest in society a similar chance of a decent education for their children too.
          Something I would have thought you would be in favour of.

          Bad schools might improve or they might even close or they might get taken over by the management of the goods schools looking for room to expand.
          I don’t follow your argument on salaries because even under the current system salaries for teachers in poor schools are sometimes higher (eg superheads) to tempt good teachers into schools that are underperforming.

    • Posted July 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I went to Maidenhead Grammar School so I am not biased in any way towards Independent Schools.

      The Public School Sector certainly benefits society as Richard 1 says so the whole Charitable Status argument is Left Wing inspired claptrap.

      Most of the Labour members who complain about the system themselves went to Grammar or Independent schools. They have since succeeded in destroying social mobility be almost eliminating Grammar Schools and they had a shot at damaging Public Schools with the 2006 act.

      A voucher system for Healthcare and Education is the only fair way of treating both of these sectors. Why should parents who are prepared to put their hands in their pocket to improve their children’s life chances be forced to pay twice ?

      It’s outdated political dogma.

      We can’t fund a £20bn shortfall in the NHS in the current manner it will wither and suffer from lack of cash after 2015. We should be switching to an insurance based scheme like in Germany. The Insurers will see that costs are kept in check and customers will be able to chose from a number of tiers of service levels.

      The hospitals can then be set free to compete on efficiency grounds with the benefit of charitable status.

    • outsider
      Posted July 26, 2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink

      dear uanime5,
      Your requirement that a charitable school should have 40 % free places seems admirable but have you thought of the consequences of such a rule?
      My old school, once an independent grammar school with 90% “free” places provided by local councils, had to go fee-paying or become a comprehensive. A rival school a few miles away that went comprehensive was last heard of in special measures so I think my school made the right choice.

      a great headmaster and a dedicated team have been trying to persuade old pupils to fund current fees and give permanent endowments so that the school can again have a high percentage of free places. But it takes about £500,000 at current rates of return to endow one place so progress is slower than it might be.

      Under your proposal, the school would lose charitable status and soon become 100% fee paying. The school has a good reputation so would that be of benefit to the local (very mixed income) community?

  22. Brigham
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I stopped all my charities about three or four years ago. This was when they seemed to be trying to blackmail us by showing graphic scenes of disease and poverty. It reminded me of “Drop the dead donkey”

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Well done. I agree fully, I would rather do good directly without the charity middle man.

  23. Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I am against any form of tax relief, including that granted to charities.

    I also include tax relief on capital purchases, enterprise zones etc.

    I am all for charity but varying taxation corrupts markets and charities alike.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Overall, income tax is not raising as much money as we would like and this is one of the things we should be looking at. The Chancellor seems instead to be relying on inflation and that good old Socialist stand by, fiscal drag.

  25. Mark
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Historically, charity was funded by private donation or by the church. Charities looked after the sick and poor, and later came to be involved in providing education, and volunteer based activity in other spheres such as looking after animals, preserving historical sites etc.

    The re-writing of the definition of charitable purpose that has allowed government campaigns to shelter under a charitable umbrella while being mainly taxpayer funded is an abomination that undermines general trust in charities. Such organisations ought to de-register as charities, and re-register as lobbyists or political entities. The use of taxes to decide “charitable” priorities goes entirely against the history and common understanding of charities.

    I now reserve charitable giving to those organisations I know only depend on donations from the public.

  26. Posted July 25, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    The really big issue is government support for charities, most would not even exist if it were not for that support, these orgnisations are nothing more than an arm of government. Because these organisations then lobby government, thus it is government talking to government, taking the place of socity as if these were the true voice of the British Public and the whole charade is supported by our taxes.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Indeed another arm of government rather like the BBC fixing the political debate using the tax payers own money to do so.

  27. Martin C
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    ‘Common Purpose’ is an educational charity. And, although they have never done anything whatever for any disadvantaged schoolchild of any stripe, on any occasion, you can bet your shirt that the Charities Commissioners will (continue to approve them ed).

  28. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    The Archbishop of Canterbury states that the Church of England intends to set up a Credit Union to go head to head with Wonga and the other pay day loan companies. That’s fine provided that this activity is recognised as a business and is not financed by taxpayers.

    The State should not in any way be financing religious instruction, so having faith schools in the State sector creates a problem. How do we ensure that religious instruction in such schools is financed by private donations and not by taxpayers? If someone set up an atheist school and included the study of two of Professor Richard Dawkins’ books – The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion – in the curriculum, would religious taxpayers feel comfortable in financing that?

  29. sm
    Posted July 28, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    It seems obvious that charities law should be looked at ensure that the charities objectives and funds spent are on the same charitable objectives, otherwise they should lose the status. Transparency should be key – no offshore hide in the shadows stuff.

    The definition of charities/trusts should be tightened to mitigate use tax avoidance reasons , political funding/lobbying fronts.

    Maximum salary caps should be in place for charities and set key ratios should be published. Admin spend v Income etc, Senior Mgt v Income etc.

    Strict limits on political lobbying say 1%, unless its a charitable organization setup for that purpose in which case zero tax relief and zero government grants.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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