The spring budget 2023 (the budget) brought some positive news relevant to the charity sector. The Chancellor expressed his admiration for the sector and acknowledged the invaluable work undertaken in recent years by charities to support those most affected by the pandemic.
Over £100m of support for local charities and community organisations in England has been announced by the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt.
The funds will be provided over the next two years and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has indicated that the money will be used to support those organisations which are under the most financial pressure. These will include frontline organisations working with the elderly and vulnerable. We wait to see details of the criteria to be applied.
The government has also committed to providing investment for energy efficiency measures to reduce future operating costs for a range of community organisations, including £63m for leisure centres.
Whilst the allocation of £63m has been largely welcomed, the District Council’s Network spokesperson on health, Cllr Hannah Dalton notes that there is still work to be done in the long term, detailing that “following years in which the pandemic reduced leisure centre use and energy bills have rocketed, this extra support will be insufficient to resolve the crisis faced by our public pools. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure their viability in the longer term.”. Read more here.
A further £10m has been made available to enable investment in charities working to prevent suicides. The £10m will be made available via the suicide prevention voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) grant in England from 2023 to 2025. The funding is aimed at those experiencing suicidal thoughts or approaching a mental health crisis.
Arts organisations have also been singled out for additional governmental investment.
There will be an extension of the higher rates of Theatre Tax Relief (TTR), Orchestra Tax Relief (OTR) and Museums and Galleries Exhibitions Tax Relief (MGETR) for a further 2 years.
The previously introduced temporary higher headline rates of relief for TTR, OTR and MGETR will be extended. The headline rates of relief for the TTR and MGETR will remain at 45% for non-touring productions and 50% for touring productions, whilst OTR rates will remain at 50% from 1 April 2023.
However, the budget also details that, from 1 April 2025 the rates will be 30% and 35%, and on 1 April 2026 the headline rates of relief for TTR and MGETR will return to 20% and 25%.
Whilst the provisions and changes have been largely welcomed by the charity sector, it has been highlighted that more will need to be done in the long term to protect charities struggling due to increased demand, diminished donation amounts and increasing costs.
For more information on applying for grants, structuring your charity and general charities advice, please contact a member of our charities team.