Bishop of St Albans asks Government for reform of Gift Aid rules to help churches and charities struggling financially

On 9th July 2020 Lord Black of Brentwood asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial sustainability of churches and places of worship.”The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, legislation has not kept up with the practice of public giving or developments in technology, especially now, when, as a result of the pandemic, cash carries the risk of infection. Charities, including churches, can currently claim only on cash and contactless gifts—not on online gifts and donations. Will the Government consider allowing online donations to qualify for gift aid, as part of the gift aid small donations scheme?

Lord Greenhalgh: We have given guidance to churches on the safe handling of cash, which can continue, and we encourage contactless where possible. We will certainly look to see whether we should extend this to small gift aid donations online. In the meantime, we encourage churches to get people to register, so that the whole amount of their donation can be claimed.

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