The recent spring budget was the last, as 2017 will see the start of a new Autumn cycle for future UK Budgets.
As such, there were few major announcements for the voluntary sector, with the word “charities” appearing in just three places in the main Budget document.
The coincidence of Budget Day falling on the same date as International Women’s Day did, however, provide a platform for a handful of themed announcements.
Tackling domestic violence and abuse:
Charities working to support those affected by domestic violence and abuse should watch out for additional funding of £20m before 2020.
£12m for women’s charities is expected through the next round of funding. A list of charities from across the UK who are likely to benefit from this will be published by the end of March 2017.
Marking the centenary of voting rights for women (1918-2018):
A new £5m fund was announced to support projects which mark the centenary of the extension of voting rights to women.
For charities with a focus on the causes of, and health consequences of, air pollution, the budget announcement on this subject was particularly relevant. As well as a draft plan expected in the Spring to set out how the UK’s air quality goals will be met, the government is continuing to explore the “appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles.”
It has signalled this tax may change at Autumn Budget 2017.
Some charities are already considering how to reflect these kinds of concerns in their investment portfolio, where this is in line with their charitable purposes.
Inheritance tax update:
The forecast announced for annual inheritance tax receipts has increased, up to £6.2bn in 2021-22. This is double the level seen in 2012-13. With many charities looking to diversify their sources of income, encouraging donors to consider leaving an inheritance tax-free legacy to a charity in their Will makes even more sense.
Social care in England:
The budget announced £2bn of additional funding for social care in England between 2017-18 and 2019-20. This is intended to alleviate some of the pressures on the NHS, funding care packages to enable adult patients to leave hospital with support. At a more strategic level, a forthcoming green paper is also due to look at how the social care system can be put on a more secure and sustainable long-term footing. Charities active in this sector will no doubt look ahead at the opportunity to engage as government policy develops in this area.