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Charities Aid Foundation


22 November 2017

The Chancellor today delivered the 2017 Autumn Budget, setting out the Government’s spending plans and priorities for the year ahead. Much of the focus was on some of the opportunities and challenges posed by the technological revolution, as well as the typical tweaks to taxation and government funding.


We’ve crunched over the details to pick out the key highlights for charities. Here’s what we’ve found:

  • The enormity of the technological revolution sees the proposal of a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to ensure that ground-breaking innovation in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and data-driven technologies is ethical. As we argued in a recent House of Lords consultation response, it’s really important that this includes representation from the charity and NGO (non-governmental organisation) sector, who can speak up for marginalised groups and individuals and highlight concerns about the potential impact of AI on the wider work of charities.
  • There is also the promise of new funding for continuous education to help people adapt to the changing workplace, with many organisations struggling to keep pace with technological development. Charities must be able to access this sort of information too, making sure that the sector is able to upskill and embrace the potential of the digital revolution- something we highlighted in the aforementioned House of Lords submission.
  • The devolution agenda remains key, with the promise of an additional £1.7 billion for metro mayors and cities, a £2 million fund from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for place-based cultural development, and an extra £21 million to develop regional tech hubs around the UK. CAF’s Giving for the City project has been exploring how to grow civic philanthropy to help revitalise towns and cities, and this investment could be leveraged to unlock philanthropic funds and increase its impact further.
  • As in previous budgets, the Chancellor committed £36 million from LIBOR fines to support Armed Forces and Emergency Service charities over the next three years. However, this completes the LIBOR Charity Funding scheme. The success of this model – making organisations who have behaved inappropriately commit to using their penalty to support good causes – is one that we would encourage the Government and regulators to build upon elsewhere.
  • There will be an exploration of how the tax system can be used to cut down on single-use plastics, through levies. This builds on the success of the plastic bag levy, which raised £29 million for good causes in the first six months. This raised money for charity whilst driving behaviour change to the benefit of the environment, and is a model that we would urge the Government to replicate to reduce the use of single-use plastics.


As well as the bigger picture policies announced by the Chancellor, there are a number of additional proposals that will affect charities, including:

  • A change following the review of the Gift Aid donor benefit funds to simplify the current monetary thresholds for charities, implemented from April 2019
  • A grant to help accident rescue charities meet the cost of normally irrecoverable VAT
  • £3.7 million to be used to modernise the Poppy Factories in Richmond and Edinburgh, which will help to boost the Poppy Appeal and donations to the Royal British Legion
  • A £28 million fund to help people affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy – this builds upon the generosity of people who donated so generously in the aftermath of the fire earlier this year
  • Finally, £5 million will be made available for projects to celebrate the centenary of voting rights being extended to women for the first time in 1918, a policy success that came about in no small part because of the commitment and advocacy of charities and voluntary organisations

Many of the Government’s proposals seek to tackle long-term, complex challenges, and we’ll be using our resources to make sure that charities are given a voice in discussions and policy development, and to create policy outcomes that help strengthen the future of the sector.

What does the Budget mean for you? Let us know at, or on twitter @cafonline