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What’s the risk? Implications of the summer budget for housing associations

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July 22, 2015 at 11:00

The CFG team have recently been thinking about risk – risks in supply chains, cyber security risks and so on – and it is risk that forms the focus of this month’s Economic Outlook Briefing which will be published on 28th July. In the publication, my colleague Andrew O’Brien highlights that charities are particularly affected by government policy. Reading his article got me thinking about two particular policies introduced in the Summer Budget delivered by the Chancellor earlier this month: the extension of Right to Buy (RtB) to housing association properties and the reduction in social housing rents. Housing associations […]

Financial sustainability won’t be easy for the charity sector

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July 22, 2015 at 09:48

Today, has seen the launch of the review into the financial sustainability of the voluntary sector, conducted by CFG, NCVO, Institute of Fundraising, Locality, NAVCA and Small Charities Coalition. It has been a long piece of work, involving a call for evidence from the voluntary sector, with more than 100 charities responding to a detailed survey; pouring over existing statistics, synthesising various strands of research and forecasting the future of the sector’s finances. The full report, which you can download here, is a wakeup call for the charity sector, government and funders. Although the economy appears on the road to […]

Some lessons from HMRC’s Higher Rate Gift Aid Donors report

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July 17, 2015 at 09:30

HMRC has published some research that it had commissioned on understanding charitable giving and Gift Aid behaviour amongst better-off individuals. Although I am not convinced that this was the best use of HMRC’s budget (see below), there are some lessons that we can learn from this research – despite the small sample size. Here are a few things to take away from HMRC’s research: We need to improve public awareness of Gift Aid Despite the individuals being interviewed earning significant amounts and potentially claiming thousands of pounds worth of Gift Aid, it is concerning that many participants were confused about […]

We can’t ignore the charity sector’s financial situation

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July 13, 2015 at 15:34

Our sector has had a few days to recover from the decisions outlined in the Chancellor’s Budget last week. Although charities were not the focus, the decisions taken within it are going to have a big impact on our operating environment for the coming five years. Often we talk about the issues facing the sector in isolation; however, this is not how charities will experience them. It seems likely that over the next few years three things are going to put considerable pressure on already fragile financial situation: 1)    More cuts in government income, both grants and contracts 2)    Increasing […]

Welfare and employment dominate the Budget: What does this mean for charities?

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July 8, 2015 at 14:59

So we didn’t do that well with our bingo card – only ‘long term economic plan’, ‘£9 minimum wage target’, ‘fixing the roof whilst the sun is shining’ and the name dropping of a charity came up. Whilst the budget report does not have a section dedicated to the charity sector, there are a number of measures announced that will have an impact on charity finance which I will outline here. Keep an eye out for our briefing which will be posted on our website in due course. Profile of the cuts £17 billion of cuts were announced in today’s […]

#volsecbudget 2015 – CFG Live Blog

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July 8, 2015 at 09:12

09/07/2015 – 19:16 – AF This afternoon I attended the IFS post-budget briefing. Given the scale of the changes introduced it covered a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time so will I provide a more detailed update later. But for now, I am going to briefly summarise the key issues that I think are relevant to charity finance. I do also recommend that you take a look at the materials available on their website. The opening remarks made by director of the IFS, Paul Johnson, neatly provides the IFS’s over-arching narrative: that it is hard to see […]

What can charities expect from Wednesday’s Budget? #VolSecBudget

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July 6, 2015 at 17:37

It seems like only yesterday that we were getting ready for the last Budget, but this Wednesday the Chancellor will deliver the first Conservative Government Budget for nearly 20 years and charities will be watching with interest. If the spending pattern follows that of the previous Parliament, we may well see a frontloading of cuts into this Budget as Osborne seeks to make significant changes early on. Whilst charities will not directly be a focus, there is still plenty to look out for in terms of impact on people that rely on charity services and the sector’s funding environment. You […]

How to avoid errors when claiming tax reliefs

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June 22, 2015 at 10:10

Nearly 70,000 charities claim tax reliefs worth billions every year. However common errors not only create problems for charities, but increase the costs for HMRC, creating delays and diverting funding that could go towards promoting the tax reliefs towards helping people to fill out their claim forms. Last year, HMRC provided a helpful ‘Top Tips’ sheet which charities can use to make the claiming process smoother. However, here is a quick overview of some of the top errors and some tips for avoiding them. Common errors when claiming 1. Duplicating the amounts of Gift Aid and Gift Aid Small Donations […]

How much do we know about PbR?

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June 19, 2015 at 18:16

Today the National Audit Office (NAO) have published their report on the Government’s use of Payment by Results (PbR). I have drawn out some of the key points of relevance to charities. Contracts are an important source of income for charities Charities play a key role in supporting people and communities.By being close to their service users, charities often have a unique perspective on their needs and how to adapt services to meet those needs. My colleague Andrew O’Brien has written previously on the growing consensus that charities can play a key role in delivering preventative services. In this way, charities are […]

Audit or independent examination?

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June 15, 2015 at 14:57

In light of recent changes to audit thresholds, John O’Brien from Community Accounting Plus discusses the options now available, and things you should consider.