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Make Gift Aid Automatic, Says CAF

Mon Apr 27 2020

In a recent briefing paper the CAF outlined how making Gift Aid an automatic process could help the not-for-profit sector through the COVID-19 crisis

In the briefing paper the CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) outlined several methods they felt could easily be introduced by the Government to aid the charity sector during and after the pandemic.

They CAF recommend that the public should be able to bring forward legacy gifts, with Gift Aid being made automatic

Other methods listed in their briefing paper included encouraging donations from wealthy philanthropists as well as speeding up efforts to unlock funding from dormant assets.

The CAF’s proposals came after the Government’s announcement of a £750m stimulus package to help the non-profit sector through the coronavirus crisis.

In general, the sector has been quite critical of the amount of money ring fenced by the Government, with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations suggesting the sector as a whole stood to face a shortfall of over £4bn in lost income… as a minimum.


CAF’s felt that their proposal of temporarily removing the need for people to actively declare Gift Aid would help solve the problem of an estimated £600m in Gift Aid going unclaimed each year, which could bolster the sector through to 2021 as it recovers from the financial crisis COVID-19 is causing.


Other suggestions made by CAF in their briefing paper included:


  • Living Legacies – So people could bring forward gifts they might make in their wills to help charities immediately, offering the chance to plan ahead and potentially borrow againsy future donations.
  • Universal Income – This would be a donation made by the public across the board to a charity of their choice.
  • COVID-19 Philanthropy Pledge – This is a scheme the government could establish to encourage donations from the wealthier members of the public as well as businesses.
  • £500m National Fund – This fund was set up in the 1920’s to help repay the national debt; CAF suggested it could also be used by charities.
  • Dormant Assets – The Government could grant charities access to dormant assets, currently thought to value around £2bn in insurance and pension claims, investment and wealth management and securities that have sat unclaimed for over fifteen years and where the rightful owner can’t be traced.
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In these times of crisis we need to employ radical ideas to bolster the charities that are an integral part of life in the UK. The Chancellor recently brought forward welcome and important support for charities but was clear that he couldn’t intervene to help them all. We hope these bold ideas will be taken up by ministers, regulators and our colleagues in the charity world to unleash support that we need now to keep charities alive for the future. The contribution of charities has never been more evident and every course of action we can take to ensure they will be there to continue helping society’s most vulnerable needs to be considered at pace.

Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy, CAF

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Mon Apr 27 2020

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