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It is not easy for Chancellors to change their decisions. So full credit to George Osborne for listening and acting decisively on the issue of capping tax relief for charitable giving. Like many in the sector who have written to me, I am pleased that the issue has been resolved quickly and we can all move on.
A recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report confirmed that Britain is a relatively generous country but we do rely on a heroic minority to do most of the giving and we can't take them for granted. It is in everyone's interest to encourage a broader base of people to give of their time, talent or any spare money.
We have recently published a document which sets out where we think progress has been made and where we think more work needs to be done. The Giving White Paper can be found at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/giving-white-paper. I would be interested in your feedback on specific things like Gift Aid and small donations but let me focus the rest of the article on the longer term opportunity. The fundamental challenge is shifting cultural attitudes. Two networks are especially important for changing behaviour.
The first is the workplace. I talked last time about the huge potential I see for better connections between business and charity. This isn't just about getting more donations out of them. It is also about doing more to connect their people with the opportunity to make a really big difference with their skills and/or money. So as you will see we are getting serious about payroll giving and are backing some platforms that we think can help build better connections.
The other key network for shaping what is considered socially normal is school. That is why National Citizen Service is so important to us. This year around 30,000 teenagers will be giving almost three quarters of a million hours in community service. Much of that work will connect them with local charities they had never heard of. We want to encourage them to stay involved and in the document you will see our plans for doing just that, as well as backing other programmes that connect young people with helping others (as well as themselves). It must be in the long term interests of the sector to help inspire the next generation to be even more generous and socially responsible.
As ever I am totally open to your thoughts and ideas. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
By Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society