CFG update – Pumpkins and the Autumn Statement

CFG update for AIM members

Remember 2022, when we had three Prime Ministers and four Chancellors, a Budget, a Growth Plan and an Autumn Statement? By comparison, 2023 has been very calm, at least in relation to personnel at the head of the government and fiscal events.

We’re now in the run up to the Autumn Statement for 2023. Currently that’s planned for 17 November. While many cultural organisations are hosting spooky sessions and pumpkin trails, finance teams are working on next year’s budgets, and at CFG we’re focused on the policy needs of the charitable sector.

Over the summer and early part of the autumn, CFG has been working with sector colleagues to develop our submission to HM Treasury. CFG has led on this submission as part of our work with the Civil Society Group (CSG). The Civil Society Group is made up of over 50 organisations that support the UK charity and voluntary sector.

As usual, we have no inside knowledge to tell us whether any of our requests will be met – but if we don’t ask, we almost certainly won’t get.

We were delighted that the Chancellor recognised the vital role that charities play in supporting communities at the Spring Budget, by providing additional support for charities with service delivery and to increasing energy efficiency. We hope that many AIM members will benefit from the £25 million VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme, to help organisations improve their premises and reduce financial and carbon costs. The scheme will be launched later this year and more detail on the scheme, including the delivery mechanism and eligibility criteria, will be announced in due course.

The most recent Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector survey has indicated that charities are still facing rising demand, with more than four in five (83%) larger charities expecting demand to grow over the next three months. As we approach the colder winter months it is vital that government provides much needed relief for families and the voluntary sector as they work to support those facing the greatest vulnerabilities. If we have another very cold winter, we may be seeing AIM members asked to create warm spaces for people to spend time.

So, against that wider context, what have we asked the Chancellor to include in the Autumn Statement this time?

We’ve said that to enable people to get the support they need, and for the voluntary sector to keep supporting people and communities in both the immediate term and for many years to come, government must:

  • Introduce an ‘Essentials Guarantee’ that would embed in our social security system the widely supported principle that, at a minimum, Universal Credit should protect people from going without essentials. With this in mind, the cap on total deductions from the Standard Allowance of Universal Credit should be lowered from 25% to 15%.
  • Ensure public bodies have the resources to deliver public services by increasing funding to enable them to uplift grants and contracts to cover the costs of public service delivery.
  • Streamline and review the charity tax and compliance systems by:
  • Addressing the issue of irrecoverable VAT for charities
  • Reintroducing VAT relief for the installation of energy saving measures in buildings intended for use solely for a relevant charitable purpose
  • Extending charitable rate relief to wholly-owned charity trading subsidiaries

We don’t know whether this Autumn Statement will be an exquisitely carved jack o’lantern or a pumpkin that’s past its best. We’re hoping for the former, and we’ll be live X-ing on the day to help keep you up to date with announcements and what they mean for the charity sector. Follow us on X (Twitter) @CFGtweets.

If your organisation has joined CFG (it’s free, as part of your AIM member benefits), you can also sign up to receive our more detailed analysis. Click here to sign up>>