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Clause 11 — Donations to charity by individuals

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 13th June 2005.

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Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 5:00 pm, 13th June 2005

My hon. Friend the Financial Secretary was described as reasonable for the way in which he dealt with the consultations. A significant period of re-evaluating and analysing the provision that we wanted to introduce has taken place to ensure that it did not have unintended consequences. I want to cite some expert and relevant stakeholders. According to my briefing, Sam Mullins is chairman of the Association of Independent Museums, although the hon. Member for Rayleigh had a different person fulfilling that role. Perhaps we need to check. However, Sam Mullins is a world expert on such matters. He said:

"The need to attract an additional donation of 10% will be a challenge. But one advantage is that it gives us the opportunity to communicate our educational and charitable objectives to visitors. We look forward to working with Government to promote public awareness and buy-in to the concept of Gift Aid."

Equally important, Mark Taylor, who, according to my briefing, remains the director of the Museums Association, stated:

"To its credit, the Treasury has listened, and is not only modifying its original plan, but also giving museums an extra year to prepare".

That is a direct answer to the hon. Member for Rayleigh. A significant amount of evidence suggests that we have listened, consulted and taken seriously the concerns that people expressed.

It is important to put clause 11 in context. The exemption of rights of admission as a benefit was first granted in the Finance Act 1989 in relation to charitable deeds of covenant and was applied to gift aid as part of the 2000 reforms. As many hon. Members have said, the exemption applied only to specific heritage and conservation charities.

Some unintended consequences of the changes to gift aid donations have come to light. The clause tries to maintain the original objectives of generating new and additional giving and increase the range of charities that might benefit from the exemption while closing down the unintended consequences. The hon. Member for Rayleigh was fair enough to acknowledge that the consequences of the provision would be to increase the overall number of charities that benefit from the exemptions.