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NCVO comment on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Charlotte Ravenscroft, head of policy and research at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

‘Many charities fear the new welfare cap will drive the government to make spending decisions that will lead to vulnerable people bearing the brunt of further cuts. Further details announced today do not resolve our concerns. We have called for a proper consultation on these proposals and also for any cap to have consultation mechanisms built into it.

‘We heard further confirmation today that balancing the budget will be achieved primarily through central government spending cuts rather than tax increases. This means there will be no let-up in the continuing squeeze on public service budgets over the next few years.’

‘There was positive news on tax reliefs that some charities will be able to benefit from, including the removal of national insurance contributions for employees under 21. A cap on business rate increases and a discount for local retailers including charity shops will be a modest help to some.

‘The announcement that social impact bonds will be eligible for the forthcoming social investment tax relief is welcome news.

‘While there is a clear role for charities to help people gain employment skills through volunteering, charities will want to come to their own decisions about whether to take part in the proposed scheme that would oblige young jobseekers to do community work. Quite obviously, work that is mandatory isn’t volunteering and shouldn’t be mistaken for volunteering.’

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