§ 10. Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about his Budget proposals to encourage charitable gifts.
§ Mr. Ian Stewart
The Budget proposals to encourage charitable giving were warmly welcomed by hon. Members on both sides of the House and by charities themselves. They represent the most substantial package of tax concessions for charities and charitable giving ever introduced in a single Budget.
§ Mrs. Bottomley
Can my hon. Friend confirm that charitable giving has more than doubled since the 1077 Government came to power? What expectations has he for further realising our people's sense of responsibility and generosity?
§ Mr. Stewart
The contributions to charity through covenants, bequests and other means have risen dramatically since the Government took office. However, I still suggest that the payroll giving scheme and the measures introduced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor in his Budget earlier this year will be regarded as some of the most important encouragements to charitable giving that have ever been introduced and I hope that they will be fully exploited. I also hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House will encourage charities and employers in their own constituencies to take part in the new scheme.
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
In respect of the Government's welcome initiative on payroll schemes for charitable giving, does my hon. Friend agree that the timetable between the end of the consultation period and the inception of the scheme next April will be very tight? Therefore, will he announce his definitive regulations as early as possible? Is he also able to say that the Government's own employees will be able to participate in such schemes?
§ Mr. Stewart
I note my hon. Friend's point about the need to have the regulations in place. The scheme is necessarily somewhat complicated. However, we published draft regulations last week. We hope that representations on those will be forthcoming as soon as possible, certainly during this month. We would then naturally want to publish the regulations in definitive form as early as we can. We want to give charities, employers and employees the longest possible notice to implement the scheme. Those who will want to take part will need to have the formal regulations available before they make their decisions.