21/03/13 – Breaking Down the Budget
Welcome to this week's e-news for members of FaithAction.
This week, we're bringing you our regular roundup of the week's news, upcoming events, and resources that we hope you might find useful, including news of a Joint Select Committee report that raises concerns over the proposed Care & Support Bill.
Yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne revealed the Budget for 2013, bringing a faster increase in tax allowance, lower NI payments for employers, and childcare vouchers for working families.
The Guardian's coverage of the Budget has a summary of the key points. The BBC's coverage includes a calculator to estimate how the budget could affect your finances. The full text of the Budget is also available.
Voluntary Sector Responds to the 2013 Budget
The Charities Aid Foundation praised the Chancellor for promising reforms to the Gift Aid system, saying that they could bring in an extra £735m a year by boosting awareness of Gift Aid and making it easier to claim.
Social Enterprise UK welcomed the announcement of tax relief for investment in social enterprises, saying the government recognises the ‘economic and social value’ of the sector, and that the UK is ‘at the forefront of social investment’.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation claims that the Budget ‘failed the anti-poverty test’, citing a lack of increase to household income or cuts to the cost of essentials. The JRF also highlighted upcoming benefit cuts and tax rises, saying that ‘the struggle for millions of poor families shows no sign of relenting’.
NAVCA said that the £2,000 cut to National Insurance would be a benefit to any charities employing staff, but called it a ‘missed opportunity’, speaking of need for an investment fund for micro social enterprises and local charities in the poorest areas.
The National Children’s Bureau urged the Government to consider the effect changes to public spending will have on vulnerable children, stating that ‘there is very little in this Budget to protect these children from moving further into poverty and hardship in 2013’, and calling for greater investment in children.
Shelter criticised the Budget, saying it has ignored ‘business leaders, economists and even government ministers who've been calling for radical action to kick-start our economy by building more homes’, instead extending existing scheme that have failed to deliver.
Charity Bank to give up charity status, mission unchanged
Due to conflicts between complying with charity law and EU banking regulations, Charity Bank is to cease to be a charity. CEO Patrick Crawford says that the bank will continue its ‘unique charitable mission’ and will still be a social enterprise. As part of the change, they are implementing a ‘mission lock’, requiring 90% of shareholders to agree to any changes to the bank’s charitable purposes. Charity Bank says the move will also help them to grow, as provisions required by charity law had made the bank unattractive to investors. The full story can be read at Charity Bank.
Joint Committee Warns of Issues in Care & Support Bill
A Joint Committee of MPs and Peers has issued a report on the Draft Care and Support Bill, warning that the care system could become unsustainable. The report praises the bill for greatly simplifying the current ‘complex web of arcane legislation’ but also calls for the care system to be more focused on prevention and early intervention, instead of only reacting to crises. A summary of findings and the full report can be found at the Parliament website.
£9.5m Fund Launched to Build Neighbourhood Plans
Don Foster, Minister for Communities, has announced a new £9.5 million fund to support the creation of neighbourhood plans over the next two years. Neighbourhood plans allow residents to shape local development, such as the location, appearance and facilities of new buildings in the area. The fund will provide up to £7,000 per group to help contribute towards the costs of creating a proposal. More information can be found at GOV.UK.
Youth Employment Convention
8th – 9th May, QEII Conference Centre, London
Organised by Inclusion and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, and sponsored by City & Guilds, this conference will bring together professionals and policy-makers to debate, network, plan, and build relationships in the youth employment sector.
More information and booking details are available here.
Innovative Learning: Efficiency, effectiveness and value for money
Tuesday 2nd July; Central Hall Westminster, London
Organised by Public Service Events, this conference examines new and innovative methods and tools for teaching, training and learning, including e-learning platforms, Massive Open Online Courses, and community initiatives.
More information and booking details are available here.
Faith Matters have published a report on people involved with the creation of the anti-Islamic movie, ‘The Innocence of Muslims’, which, after being translated to Arabic, caused widespread rioting resulting in the deaths of over 75 people.
Our Featured Member this week is the Faith Regen Foundation
The Faith Regen Foundation is a national charity that works to find sustainable employment to the country’s most disadvantaged individuals, including BAME, women and the disabled. The Foundation is Muslim-inspired, but works with people of all faiths to achieve its goals. They run programmes of employability training and confidence building while providing work placements and mentoring. They are also a provider of employability training and English for Speakers of Other Languages for the Department of Work and Pensions.
For more information on the Faith Regen Foundation, please visit http://www.faithregenuk.org