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New Clause 1 - Annual report

Part of Small Charitable Donations Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 30th October 2012.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Party Chair, Co-operative Party 3:00 pm, 30th October 2012

My hon. Friend has made a good point, as indeed did my hon. Friend the Member for Foyle. If the Minister is right, there will be a huge surge in the number of charities registering for gift aid in order to benefit three years down the line from the small donations scheme. It would be helpful to get some sense of whether the behavioural change predicted by the hon. Gentleman in that sense was coming to fruition. My hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian was absolutely right that one of the ways in which we could know whether that was happening would be to have the total expenditure on the scheme broken down in terms of the extra gift aid claims as well as the money spent under the small donations scheme.

Many attempts have been made by the Minister to justify the scheme’s level of complexity on the basis of the level of fraud. I repeat that Opposition Members are absolutely committed to taking proportionate measures to stop fraud under the scheme. It would clearly be helpful to hear, 12 months down the line after the scheme was in operation, HMRC say how much fraud it actually estimates in its operation. That would allow us to have a meaningful debate about the success or otherwise of the scheme.