Tax and VAT Funding Economy and policy

CFG publishes sector’s ‘asks’ ahead of Autumn Statement

As part of the Civil Society Group, CFG is urging the Chancellor to support the charitable sector and the vulnerable people and communities it exists to serve.


CFG has today [13 October 2023] published its ‘asks’ of Government, ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 22 November 2023.

As part of the Civil Society Group, CFG is calling on the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, to do more to ensure people get the support they need, and to support the charity and voluntary sector so that it can continue to do crucial work in our communities.

The Civil Society Group’s asks are:

  1. Introduce an ‘Essentials Guarantee’ that would embed in the 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%.
  2. Government should ensure public bodies have the resources they need to deliver public services by increasing funding to enable them to uplift grants and contracts to cover the costs of public service delivery.
  3. Streamline and review the charity tax and compliance systems by:

o Addressing the issue of irrecoverable VAT for charities
o Reintroducing VAT relief for the installation of energy saving measures in buildings intended for use solely for a relevant charitable purpose
o Extending charitable rate relief to wholly-owned charity trading subsidiaries

Richard Sagar, Head of Policy at CFG, comments: “We were delighted that the Chancellor recognised the vital role that charities play in supporting communities in the Spring Budget. The additional support for charities was very welcome and helped with both service delivery and to improve energy efficiency.

“The cumulative effects of the cost of living crisis on the back of the pandemic continue to put household income in a precarious position. The weight of this is falling on charities and voluntary organisations that are already dealing with a surge in demand and rising costs. And the surge in both demand and costs will not ease any time soon. On top of this, we are also trying to weather a drop in combined income across the sector for the first time in a decade.”

Recent research shows backs this up. More than four in five (83%) larger charities expect demand to grow over the next three months, according to the results of the latest Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector survey1. And NCVO's recently published UK Civil Society Almanac shows a drop in the combined income for charities of all sizes2.

Richard continues: “Charities are an essential part of the social fabric in communities, the economy and the public services ecosystem – but they, and critically the people they support, face increasing risks of having to cut back services.

“The immediate consequences of contraction in charity sector activity will be felt in already very thinly stretched public service delivery. The longer tail of the impact will be felt in the resilience and economic growth of communities all over the country.

“That’s why we’re calling on government to acknowledge once again just how vital it is to support the charitable sector, whilst doing all it can to support our country’s most vulnerable people and communities.”

Download the Civil Society Group’s submission to the Chancellor

Further reading

1.Read Shifting out of reverse: an analysis of the VCSE Sector Barometer

2.NCVO UK Civil Society Almanac 2023

About the Civil Society Group

CFG is a member of the Civil Society Group (CSG). The group is made up of more than 50 organisations that support the UK charity and voluntary sector. The tens of thousands of charities and community groups that CSG works with range from micro volunteer-led groups to national ‘household name’ charities. Their work supports millions of people every year, with everything from mental and physical health, to advice, crisis support and more. They also enrich communities across the UK by strengthening social infrastructure, providing opportunities for millions to volunteer every year, and improving life outcomes.

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