Yes, but a growing proportion of Members simply cannot take part and would be able to if we switched on virtual participation in debates, while those who wanted to come would be able to. For example, we could have a debate on my early-day motion 1001 on the emergency gift aid campaign.
[That this House marks the annual Gift Aid Awareness Day which fell on 8 October 2020; appreciates that Gift Aid Relief is the practical application of the long-established principle that donations to charities should not be taxed; recognises that the charitable sector is in the middle of the biggest financial crisis it has ever faced, with huge falls in income at the same time as increased demand for services; considers that a Gift Aid Emergency Relief Package would go a long way to keeping vital charitable services running; calls on the UK Government to increase Gift Aid from 20% to 25% for two years from the start of the 2020-21 tax year; further calls on the UK Government to introduce changes to the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to remove barriers for entry to ensure wider access across the voluntary sector and increase the amount that can be claimed from £8,000 to £10,000; and believes that the cost of such measures need not be prohibitive given that the National Audit Office estimates that £560m of eligible Gift Aid is unclaimed each year and that charities are likely to see an overall fall in donations in the current challenging economic circumstances.]
As the shadow Leader of the House pointed out, this time last week it was Gift Aid Awareness Day. So many charities, big and small, are providing vital services in response to the pandemic but are equally being hit by fundraising difficulties. A short-term uplift in the gift aid scheme, for a couple of years, would allow them to access extra funds in order to deliver those vital services. Could the Leader of the House find time for a debate on that?