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Unlocking assets could free £1bn to support coronavirus fight

Unlocking assets could free £1bn to support coronavirus fight

Analysis by the Charities Aid Foundation suggests that unlocking assets could release £1 billion to help charities during the coronavirus outbreak.

CAF’s report recommends a raft of measures to unlock charitable assets, harness unclaimed Gift Aid and stimulate new giving to causes hit by the pandemic, with recommendations for government, regulators and charities.

Proposals include:

  • Temporarily removing the need for people to make a Gift Aid declaration in order for the charities to receive the 25% additional benefit on every donation. It is estimated that £600m in Gift Aid is currently unclaimed each year
  • Introducing “living legacies”  which allow people to bring forward the kinds of gifts they might make in their will – allowing charities to plan ahead and potentially borrow money against future assets
  • Unlocking the assets of the £500m National Fund – a charity set up in the 1920s to repay the national debt whose assets have been locked away for nearly 100 years
  • Easing efforts to release millions in unused cash from dormant charities
  • Creating a coronavirus big philanthropy pledge to encourage donations from wealthy individuals and businesses

    CAF believes its proposals could significantly supplement the £750m Government aid package for charities announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

    Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy at the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

    “In these times of crisis we need to employ radical ideas to bolster the charities which are an integral part of life in the UK. These proposals include elements which, in normal times, would not be considered but these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures to help protect the invaluable work of charities.

    “The Chancellor recently brought forward welcome and important support for charities but was clear that he couldn’t intervene to help them all. We hope these bold ideas will be taken up by Ministers, regulators and our colleagues in the charity world to unleash support that we need now to keep charities alive for the future.

    “The contribution of charities has never been more evident and every course of action we can take to ensure they will be there to continue helping society’s most vulnerable needs to be considered at pace.” 

    The full briefing paper can be downloaded from the CAF site. 

    Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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