Catholics unite to call for enhanced Gift Aid scheme

The Catholic Union, Caritas Social Action Network, and Catholic Bishops in England and Wales have joined forces to call for a higher rate of Gift Aid to be introduced in response to coronavirus.

In their letter to the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, the Catholic groups highlight the “perfect storm” faced by many charities at this time – with falling revenue and greater demand for services.

The letter calls on the Government to introduce an enhanced Gift Aid scheme as soon as possible, so that charities can begin to benefit immediately from any change.

The current Gift Aid scheme allows charities to claim an extra 25p for every £1 donated. The Catholic groups are calling for a temporary higher rate of Gift Aid to be introduced so that every £1 donated to charity has the greatest possible benefit.

The Treasury previously operated a Gift Aid scheme based on 28p for every £1 donated. A campaign led by the Institute of Fundraising, and others, is calling for the rate to increase to 33p.

The idea of an enhanced Gift Aid scheme was raised in Parliament earlier this year by Catholic Union Vice-President, Mike Kane MP.

Catholic Union Head of Public Affairs, James Somerville-Meikle, commented: “In many cases, it has been charities and voluntary groups who have been on the frontline in responding to the impact of coronavirus on people’s lives. The Government has come up with money and new schemes to help different sections of the economy and society. We’re now asking for a fair deal for charities. A change to the Gift Aid rate has been introduced by the Treasury before, and there has never been a better time to look again at how this scheme could be used to support the work of charities.”

A spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, commented: “As we emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown society must be reopened not only to healthy, employed and financially stable members of society, but also to those marginalised and vulnerable people for whom this has been a time of stress, fear and uncertainty. The work of charities in ensuring the health, wellbeing and fundamental human dignity of all people, especially those most in need, cannot be underestimated. I hope that the Government will seriously consider improving the gift aid scheme to support this crucial work.”

Read the letter to the Culture Secretary here: Letter to Oliver Dowden 10.08.20