HC Deb 17 July 1986 vol 101 cc1158-9
4. Mr. Alan Howarth

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much extra charitable giving he now expects to result from his Budget measures.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Norman Lamont)

Depending on the public response to the Budget proposals, it could be £120 million or even more.

Mr. Howarth

I thank my right hon. Friend for giving that dramatically encouraging figure. Will he confirm that the Government's tax concessions are geared, in that they materialise when private donations worth twice as much are made? Does he agree that enlisting charitable donations in partnership with direct public provision is a thoroughly useful and practical way of mobilising additional resources of money and dedicated people to help tackle the problems of social need?

Mr. Lamont

I agree with my hon. Friend. It is the Government's policy to encourage private giving. The figure that I gave is merely an estimate. It could be more. It is up to us as politicians to encourage people to take advantage of the unprecedented generous reliefs.

Mr. Ashton

Do the Government regard the giving of free school dinners to the children of the unemployed as charity? If so, why are they stopping local councils from having the discretion to do that? Why is there one rule for those charities in which the Government believe and another rule for the charities in which local councils believe?

Mr. Lamont

The hon. Gentleman's point has nothing to do with this question. The main question is about tax relief for private charities. I am only sorry that the hon. Gentleman does not see fit to welcome a provision that is welcomed by voluntary organisations in this country.

Mr. Thurnham

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is now up to businesses and charities to develop closer links to take full advantage of the new scheme?

Mr. Lamont

I agree completely with my hon. Friend. Charities have very much welcomed this development. It was widely agreed that the last Budget was the best Budget ever for charities.