Ashleigh Milson


Charities Aid Foundation

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CAF’s review of the 2018 Autumn Budget

30 October 2018

The Chancellor said yesterday that we are coming to the end of austerity, so you would have been forgiven for expecting a budget full of new funding announcements. Certainly this morning’s papers are talking up the 'giveaways' in yesterday’s budget.

We did see the Chancellor announce funding in several areas, from mental health, to schools, to defence and pot holes. An increased £2bn pot for Government departments to prepare for Brexit and the £20bn boost for the NHS were headline funding announcements that charities will want to be aware of and influence.

In a pre-Brexit Budget where the Chancellor looked to prepare various sectors for the uncertainty of Brexit, particularly businesses, it was disappointing to see no mention of the charity sector as a key consideration in this. There are several announcements that relate to charities, however, which we highlight below.

Key announcements of interest for charities

Charity taxes - commitment to reduce the administrative burden for charities, including:

  • Increasing the upper limit for trading that small charities can carry out without incurring a tax liability.
  • Allowing charity shops using the Retail Gift Aid Scheme to send letters to donors every three years when their goods raise less than £20 a year, rather than every tax year.
  • Increasing the individual donation limit under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to £30, which applies to small collections where it is impractical to obtain a Gift Aid declaration.

R&D and technology funding

  • A further £1.6 billion for R&D funding was announced. The government is providing additional funding to support the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges and aims to position the UK as a world leader in new and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), nuclear fusion, and quantum computing.
  • The Chancellor also confirmed the Affordable Credit Challenge Fund, where the government will provide £2m to promote innovative technological solutions that will harness the power of the UK’s world-leading Fintech industry to support social and community lenders.
  • At CAF, we believe it is important that charities are considered as a key stakeholder in ensuring that technology works for everyone, as highlighted in our Future:Good project.  

Investment in mental health crisis services included in the £20bn NHS boost

  • Although the Prime Minister had already revealed the Chancellor’s “big rabbit”, the £20bn NHS boost, yesterday saw the announcement that the NHS 10-year plan will include a new mental health crisis service, comprehensive units in A&E and more mental health ambulances amongst other things that will be of interest to many charities’ beneficiaries.

Specific funding for charities

  • Hammond says this year is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice and says the Treasury will mark the centenary by donating £10m to support veterans with mental health needs.
  • Further funding for charities, including a £15m charity scheme to distribute surplus food was confirmed.

Social Care Funding

  • The budget saw the announcement of £650m of grant funding for Social Care for English councils for 2019-20, as well as an additional £45m for the disabled facilities grant in England in 2018-19, and a further £84m over the next five years to expand children's social care programmes to a further 20 councils.
  • There is also a Green Paper on future Social Care where interested charities will want to highlight the extent to which this is likely to have an impact on the social care crisis. Also included was a note that more decisions will be made at the Spending Review, which further highlights this as a crucial time for charities to be advocating for further charity funding.

Devolution opportunities

  • In addition to further devolved powers and funding for social care, there is a focus on supporting cities, with a Future High Streets Fund that will invest £675m to support local areas to improve access to high streets and town centres, and an extension to the Transforming Cities Fund, funding significant transport projects in English cities.

Environment – tackling plastics

  • Aim to be a world leader in tackling the scourge that is the overuse of plastics, including £10m to deal with abandoned waste sites was announced, an increase on tax on the manufacture and import of plastics. The Government will be consulting on the detail and implementation.
  • We believe it’s good news that the Chancellor proposes to use the tax system to reduce plastic waste, but we believe he should look to the success of the plastic bag levy to further reduce disposable plastics. We’ve seen first-hand how successful the levy was reducing the number of bags being used, while raising much-needed money for charities.

Of course, the future is still not clear as we approach Brexit in March. The Government’s Spending Review is due next year and the Chancellor made clear that he is open to upgrading the Spring Statement to a full fiscal statement.

We live in uncertain times, but the voice of charities has never been more important in ensuring an economy that truly works for everyone.

If you have any comments or would like to get in touch, email us at or tweet us @cafonline.