Cochrane welcomes Government u-turn over charitable giving

Judith Cochrane MLA has welcomed the decision from the Chancellor George Osborne to abandon proposals to limit tax relief on charitable giving, following an Assembly motion on the issue last month and numerous protests from charities.

In his March Budget, the Chancellor had originally indicated that from April 2013 there would be a new ceiling amount with regard to the level of tax relief that could be reclaimed on charitable giving.

Judith Cochrane MLA said: “It is very encouraging to see that sense has prevailed and the Chancellor has listened to the voice of public opinion. We were firmly opposed to these proposals from the outset and I made our objections clear when I spoke on the matter last month in the Assembly. Opposition to the proposals was unanimous within the House and our concerns were recorded and raised directly with the Prime Minister through subsequent correspondence. I appreciate that significant Budget decisions are increasingly complicated for the Chancellor given the nature of the current economic climate, but I welcome his resolve in this matter and particularly his courage to publicly overturn an established government objective.

“There is a growing perception that wealthy donors are somehow profiting from some fairytale loophole, but this is simply not true, and the sad reality of reducing tax relief on these donations means that many donors will simply give less.

“While there is some merit in concerns exercised over bogus and foreign charities being utilised in order to exploit the system, the frequency and impact of such practices simply does not hold weight when compared to the frequency and impact of charitable giving. The problem of tax avoidance through the use of charitable relief should ultimately be dealt with by an effective HMRC, and having discussed the matter with the NI Charities Commission, I also have faith in their ability to investigate alleged charity misconduct or mismanagement. “


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