Manifesto Watch 2015: UKIP

April 16, 2015 at 12:37

CFG’s analysis of the party manifestos concludes with the United Kingdom Independence Party which unveiled their manifesto yesterday.

Believe in Britain – The United Kingdom Independence Party’s Manifesto 2015

Summary of policies affecting charities:

Sector-wide

  • 20% business rate relief if it is the business’ only property and under £50k
  • Repeal the Human Rights Act and replace with UK Bill of Rights
  • Clamp down on ‘fake charities’ and state funded political activism
  • Abolish Office for Civil Society

Local government/Public Services

  • Make it easier for small and medium sized businesses to tender for public sector contracts by removing the necessity to demonstrate compliance in areas irrelevant to the job being tendered for

Heritage & Culture

  • Remove VAT for repairs of listed buildings 
  • A Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism
  • Tax system to support historic buildings and countryside

Health & Social Care

  • A new coordinating service for older people using NHS, social services, community agents and voluntary sector

Policing/Crime

  • Reform Police and Crime Commissioners and reduce their number

Welfare

  • Train and fund 800 advisers to work at 800 food banks
  • Charity shops and food banks exempt from charges related to unwanted food waste and other goods
  • Minister for Veterans to work with charities to provide single point of contact for veterans

Financial inclusion

  • Pensions advice and seminar programme to help pensioners make the right decisions on future

International development

  • Reduce overseas aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 0.2%

Analysis for charities

The UKIP Manifesto has a number of measures that could impact on charities.

The abolition of the ‘Big Society Programme’ assumed to be the Office for Civil Society would be a radical change from the approach of the other parties. It is also likely that there would not be any capacity building support through proposed programmes such as the Local Sustainability Fund. The UKIP Manifesto also mentions the need to clamp down on ‘fake charities’ which is linked to the much criticised ‘Sock Puppets’ report of the Institute of Economic Affairs. It is likely that a UKIP government would put further restrictions or increased scrutiny on the campaigning of charities that receive public money.

On tax, there is a focus on heritage and listed buildings which would help charities working out of such buildings or which operate them as part of their charitable purpose. Small business rate relief could also benefit charities if there were included in such a relief, although there is no mention of this in the manifesto.

On public services, efforts to support small and medium sized businesses could indirectly support charities given that most charities would qualify as small businesses. However, there is little mention of the role of charities in public service delivery.

There is significant focus on veterans and supporting their transition which would help Armed Forces charities working in this space. There is also mention of charities working with the NHS to ‘co-ordinate’ services for older people which could indicate a desire for charities to be more involved in community care.

The policy most likely to affect the sector is the share proposed reduction in the overseas aid budget by around £9bn a year. Given that charities are a significant part of the delivery of overseas aid and have seen their government income rise over the past few years, this would create significant difficulties for charities in this part of the sector. It may also have the knock on effect of increasing competition in the fundraising space for overseas causes.

Charity Finance Group has released a briefing for charity members on its priorities for the next government which you can read here.