Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

MP ‘sees nothing but a fudge’ on phasing out of cheques

If charities thought cheques being phased out by 2018 was a foregone conclusion, they might have to think again. The Payments Council proposed the move last year and has been consulting charities and sector umbrella bodies, as well as small businesses and other groups. Many, including Citizen’s Advice and the Institute of Fundraising, had come… Read more »

Many charities don’t realise how bad their pension problems really are

A few recent stories highlight the impact of the wider pensions crisis on the charity sector. The combined pensions deficit of the 20 largest charities is around £720m, according to a study by Alexander Forbes. And last week, two pensions specialists who advised charities in the Scottish Voluntary Sector Pensions Scheme – a multi-employer scheme… Read more »

Fire and brimstone missing at Unite’s mass meeting for charity workers

The mass meeting last night of charity sector workers organised by Unite showcased a side of the Labour Party rarely seen these days. Labour MPs initially outnumbered charity workers in committee room 11 of the Palace of Westminster, as delegates battled with hordes of tourists and schoolchildren to get through security. The MPs declared themselves… Read more »

The mauling of Dame Suzi Leather

Dame Suzi Leather’s membership of the Labour Party has never been a disqualification for her to be chair of the Charity Commission. But it has created an opening for the piranhas of the Daily Mail and other right wing organs to sink their teeth into her. They have attacked her on a political level, suggesting… Read more »

Tories hint at tax breaks for social investment

In the run-up to the election there have been lots of promises from political parties about what they will do to improve the lot of social enterprises. This week Nick Hurd, shadow charities minister, suggested the Conservatives were thinking of using tax breaks to boost the social investment market. If this is the case, it… Read more »

Smith, Hurd and Willott were given an easy ride at the volunteering hustings

At university we had hustings to help students decide which of their peers they should elect to represent them on their college’s governing body.  They were heated events. We crammed a hundred or so people into a small room, gave the candidates a good grilling and scrutinised every word they said, throwing back difficult questions… Read more »

Cooperatives are enjoying a moment

Once charities were seen as the magic bullet for public service reform. But now their place seems to have been usurped by another part of the third sector: cooperatives.   Last month, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne promised to free public sector staff to form employee-led “John Lewis” style co-operatives and sell their services back to… Read more »

Parkinson’s UK’s online woes show charities are still struggling with social media

Charities are still floundering with social media. A robust debate that broke out last month on the Parkinson’s UK website forums among its feisty and outspoken members proves the point. Many of them are expressing dissatisfaction about the charity in more than 230 posts on its public-facing website, and it’s clearly causing embarrassment because chief… Read more »

Cancer Research UK’s proposal on Gift Aid reform is by no means perfect

It is good to see Cancer Research UK taking the lead on Gift Aid reform by supporting a 30p composite rate. It’s an idea that means charities would receive 30p in Gift Aid on every £1 given by a taxpayer, and higher-rate taxpayers would lose the right to claim any personal tax relief on donations…. Read more »

Senior politicians were competing to impress charities last night

Loans are all the rage. Last night I joined around 200 people who went to all-hail them at a House of Commons reception organised by the Social Investment Business. Proceedings were delayed by a parliamentary lobby of hundreds of kindly-looking middle-aged people wearing ‘Homeopathy Worked for Me’ t-shirts, which caused 30-minute delays getting through security…. Read more »