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New Clause 1 — Annual Report

Part of Small Charitable Donations Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 26th November 2012.

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Photo of Susan Elan Jones Susan Elan Jones Opposition Whip (Commons) 6:30 pm, 26th November 2012

It is a privilege to speak in this debate. As hon. Members present at the time will know, we had some good, positive and, indeed, consensual discussions in Committee. Labour Members are keen to see the Bill passed, because we recognise that much of it is an extension of what previous Labour Governments did. That is why we want to get it 100% right. Things such as the compact for the voluntary sector and the immense growth and development of gift aid happened on Labour’s watch, and we are keen to see that trend continue in the Bill.

Certain groups will rightly be especially pleased with the Bill. It is fair to say that the dioceses, Churches and faith groups welcome the Bill, as do we, and it is right that we support those groups and the tremendous work they do in communities across the country. A range of other charitable groups will also benefit.

I am pleased with certain changes in the matching principle: I am not a betting person, but, on this occasion, 10:1 is clearly better than 2:1. Nevertheless, we are asking the Minister to listen to the voice of the national charities’ voluntary organisation, the Institute of Fundraising, as well as the Charities Aid Foundation and other groups, which are saying, “If you are prepared to improve the Bill in certain ways, as you have been, please think again about having the link with gift aid, if we really want charities, including those not currently claiming gift aid, to benefit.” I urge the Minister to have at least a little think about that. He and the Government have gone some way towards accepting some of the changes that those groups wanted. Let us get it 100% right. I urge him to consider those other changes too.

I want to look at the issue of reviewing the legislation, about which my hon. Friend Cathy Jamieson spoke with great eloquence. We know that many things in the Bill will work, but if the development of community and voluntary sector groups over the last 10 to 20 years is anything to go by, we know too that fundraising has changed dramatically. What worked yesterday will not work today, and what will work tomorrow will probably not have worked today. It will change over time. That is why we ask the Minister to consider having a review.

Mention has been made about the way donations are made, and I am confident that more mention will be made of it. What interests me is that if one made a £10 cash donation, there could be benefits under this Bill, but not if the same donation were made on a mobile phone or with a bank card. As someone from generation X—I have not actually checked, but I think I am—that strikes me as a little odd, but let us think about the new donors we want to cultivate in generation Y, as I think it is called. If we are to build a new philanthropic culture that encourages younger and newer donors, we must at least be open on that point. I urge the Minister to look carefully at that provision, which I know has already been mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, and I know it will be mentioned later. I urge him to reconsider and to support the concept of an ongoing review so that future charities Ministers and other Ministers can look at this legislation and say, “Let us make it work for today’s generation.”