Poll reveals scale of backbench discontent on charity tax changes

The scale of Conservative and Liberal Democrat backbench discontent at the Government’s proposed cap on tax relief for charitable donations is revealed in a new poll published today.

Almost two thirds of Government backbenchers surveyed during the Easter recess say that tax relief on charitable donations should be exempt from the proposed cap announced in the Budget and that Government should review its proposal.

Sixty five per cent of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs surveyed agreed that “tax relief on charitable donations should be exempt from the proposed cap”.

Sixty eight per cent of the backbenchers surveyed agreed that “The Government should review its proposal to apply this cap on tax relief for charitable donations”.

The ComRes survey, commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation, also showed that 93 per cent of Government backbenchers surveyed agreed that the Government “should do all it can to use the tax system to encourage charitable donations from wealthy donors.”

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“This new survey shows the depth of concern among Government backbenchers about the damaging cap on tax relief for major donations. The clear majority of those surveyed want a change of policy.

“The Government now needs to listen and act on to this clear message from coalition backbenchers, as well as from ministers, charities and donors and reverse this ill-thought through tax change.

“The arguments against this blanket restriction on major donations are frankly overwhelming. It is absurd that proposals to raise a small amount of extra tax revenue from generous philanthropists risk big falls in donations to things like medical research, hospice care and education.

“Clearly, any abuse of the system is quite wrong and damaging to the work of charities. We absolutely must work with Government to ensure that where any abuse occurs, all necessary measures are taken to eradicate it. But a blanket cap on tax relief for giving is not the way to do it.

“It is not the rich who will suffer from this tax cap, it will be disadvantaged people and the causes we all care about.”

ComRes surveyed 71 Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs between March 28 and April 13.

More than 900 charities have expressed support for the “Give it Back George” campaign, which is calling on the Government to exempt charitable donations from the proposed cap on tax reliefs, announced in last month’s budget.

The three questions asked:

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

(1) Strongly agree / (2) Agree / (3) Disagree / (4) Strongly disagree / (5) Don't know / No opinion

The Government should do all it can to use the tax system to encourage charitable donations from wealthy donors.

   Number of MPs  Percentage of MPs
 Strongly agree  37  52%
 Agree 29  41%
 Disagree  2  3%
 Strongly disagree  0  0%
 Don't know/no opinion  3  4%
     
 TOTAL AGREEING  66  93%
 TOTAL DISAGREEING  2  3%

Tax relief on charitable donations should be exempt from the proposed cap.

  Number of MPs  Percentage of MPs
 Strongly agree  21  29%
 Agree  25  35%
 Disagree  14  20%
 Strongly disagree  1  1%
 Don't know/no opinion  10  14%
     
TOTAL AGREEING  46  65%
TOTAL DISAGREEING  15  21%

The Government should review its proposal to apply this cap on tax relief for charitable donations.

  Number of MPs  Percentage of MPs
 Strongly agree  24 34%
 Agree  24 34%
 Disagree  13 18%
 Strongly disagree  1 1%
 Don't know/no opinion  9 13%
     
 TOTAL AGREEING  48 68%
 TOTAL DISAGREEING  14 20%

Methodology: ComRes surveyed 71 Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs by telephone and online between 28 March and 13 April 2012. Data were weighted accurately to reflect party membership within the Coalition. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comres.co.uk

 

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