Universities Could Suffer if Charity Tax Comes In

Sunday, April 15, 2012 Print Email

Philanthropic giving to UK universities rose to £560m, according to an annual survey but concerns are raised this generosity could end should the government's plans to cap tax relief on donations.

The survey, jointly carried out by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and Ross Group found that cash income increased by £43m for the year 2010-11, compared to 2009-10, while donor numbers also grew by 10%.

CASE, a professional association set up to assist educational institutions globally, though welcoming the survey figures, expressed their concern at the effect of the Treasury’s changes to charitable giving.

Kate Hunter, CASE executive director said: ‘It's fantastic to see an increase in cash income over the past year and a growing number of alumni and other donors getting involved. We are, however, concerned that after years of hard work to grow a genuine culture of giving to higher education, the plans to introduce a new cap on income tax relief could be a disincentive to some donors. We feel this sends entirely the wrong message to donors about the need for and value of their gifts to the sector.’

Chris Cox, director of development at the University of Manchester and chair of the Ross Group said: ‘Government now needs to move quickly to ensure that the budget proposals on tax relief don't stop progress dead in its tracks. Philanthropists choose to give serious money to make a difference to the lives of others. They choose that over conspicuous consumption or protecting their own wealth. Through its consultation, the government needs to decide which type of behaviour it wants to encourage among the wealthy. The only way of sending a clear message would be to exempt charitable contributions from the new cap.’

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