Budget 2016 - Charities are glad of a low profile

16 March 2016

16 March 2016 by Chris Harris Tax

Budget 2016: a Charity Specific briefing

The Chancellor, in his role as the Finance Director for the UK Government plc, can struggle to make any significant declarations so soon after the Autumn Statement. This year the external changes have not been kind and the OBR has duly recalculated the projections for the rest of the parliament. However, the Chancellor is not in a position to change most things, having only recently made the announcements back in November. So Budget 2016 is not big on anything new and the changes made are negligible, especially when compared to the mountain of debt that Britain has now incurred. He has also made clear that this is a budget for the long term, which is another reason for not changing anything!

Given the kicking that charities have had in the press over the past year it was to be expected that the Chancellor would join in with further restrictions. However, this time charities can be glad not to be noticed except for the lucky few named as recipients of LIBOR fines or the tampon tax.

Small Business
There were several initiatives to help small business, some of which will also be enjoyed by charities such as the £1,000 extra reduction in Employers National Insurance from April 2016 onwards. However, there was also the clamp down on the use of personal service companies within public sector employers which is likely to influence other sectors in future.

Social Enterprise
There was no mention of social enterprise in the budget and only a meagre £5m added to a Social Impact Bond already preannounced for Homelessness. This makes the publication of two social investment strategies by the Government last Friday look a bit desperate.

Museums and Galleries
There will be a new tax relief to encourage touring collections and an extension of Museum VAT reliefs as an answer to the continuing problems of this sector following less money from the Arts Council and Local Authorities.

A new £115m initiative with £100m being spent on “second stage” accommodation and another £5m for the Social Impact Bond mentioned above.

Little new that had not already been announced apart from small initiatives such as £60m for Community Land Trusts.

An extra £20m for cathedrals over the next two years as part of the First World War centenary maintenance fund.

That’s it!