Thursday 19 April 2012

Solidarity, VAT and Liverpool.

It has been great to see the wide support across our sector on the tax cap and the major lobbying efforts from the key umbrella bodies and how philanthropists have been enraged and engaged.

Of course our sector would not be its rich diverse self if there had not been some dissenting voices. And there are certainly some with a poor understanding of the concept of "charity" when it comes to supporting others in trouble. Martin Narey's unhelpful article in the Times and various comments from individuals who thought it clever to use this opportunity to attack big nationals was sad. But they were very much an exception.

It was great to see so many smaller charities who may not get the support of rich philanthropists taking the line that an attack on one is an attack on all. Debra Alcock- Tyler put this so well in her column in Third Sector.

One particular letter from an organisation I'm not going to name as it might only encourage further outrage from them suggested that the Government were right and this would be good as the big charities got less money to support their CEO and director salaries! So never mind that a number of the international aid charities have said their donations have already been hit and their emergency relief work cut as a result- let's have a go about salaries!

Now we also know the charity tax was not the only budget problem; the change to VAT rules on listed buildings is also causing problems for members in the arts, heritage and faith sectors. The Churches have made a strong case about how this change may affect them but I also had an anguished email from a member who runs a hospital that has been around 600 years and who believes this will bring a massive new bill for him.

I also know that for some of the investments that the Social Investment Business have made this will cause a problem. Some of our investees have been converting old buildings for use as community hubs. One such brilliant example is in Leominster where a magnificent old Tudor barn is to relive as a community centre.

Yet another problem for our sector from a budget that has proved so difficult in so many ways.

Anyway, I'm now off to Liverpool for a meeting with the Council and a meeting with ACEVO members. I'm also going to see a Limrick family vault at St Luke's Crosby which one of my members Liz Williams of Sefton Carers has searched out for me! More on that later...know you can't wait....

Stephen Bubb


Martin Narey said...

What I've written, and what i've said for many years, may be unhelpful to you, but it's the truth. Defending the diversion of taxation from desperately under funded public services to any organisation defined - anywhere in the world - as a charity is morally indefensible. The Stephen Bubb I first knew twenty years ago would have been enraged.
I have suggested that HMRC should make a distinction between donations to, say, Save the Children and to, say, Eton. And yet you make no such distinction and write, without irony, about solidarity.

yajur said...

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