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Government outlines additional GASDS spend in autumn statement

The government has outlined five years of additional spend on the gift aid small donations scheme in its autumn statement.

Figures reveal the government plans to spend an additional £10m in 2013/14 on top of the £50m proposed earlier this year.

The autumn statement, delivered in Parliament this afternoon, outlines plans to spend an additional £10m in year one, then £15m, £10m, £20m and £30m in the subsequent four years. This is on top of the £50m in in 2013/14, then £85m, £105m and £115m in the following three years announced in the 2012 Budget.

An original sum for 2017/18 was not announced. However by 2016/17 we can calculate that the gift aid small donations scheme will be worth £410m to the sector.

The gift aid small donations scheme (GASDS) will give many charities access to up to £1,250 from government for up to £5,000 of small cash donations (those up to £20) received in any year. The scheme passed through the House of Commons late last month and is set to come into force in April 2013.

Conditions, such as including the need to have successfully claimed gift aid for at least two out of the last four years, have led to criticism over the plans, which were originally portrayed as a measure for charities which were reliant on small donations in collection tins. Although the sector is widely accepting of the scheme overall, particularly since changes have been introduced through consultation with the sector, accounting for much of the expected additional spend announced in the autumn statement. 

Gift aid to go digital?

The government has also announced that it will look into modernising gift aid itself, saying: "The government will examine whether the administration of gift aid can be improved to reflect new ways of giving money to charity, in particular digital giving."

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of Charity Finance Group commented: "We are really excited that the government wants to look at how we can expand gift aid to new types of giving.  We have been calling for this for a long time and we look forward to working with HM Treasury and to hopefully come up with some exciting ideas for budget 2013 that can bring gift aid into the 21st century."

Plans to include non-cash small donations in GASDS were rejected during the consultation period for the scheme but the Treasury conceded that this will be considered during the three-year review following its implementation.

This article was taken from Civil Society – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/13984/