Concern among arts organisations about the cap on tax relief for philanthropic donations - Harman

12 April 2012

Harriet HarmanHarriet Harman MP, Labour's Deputy Leader and Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, today wrote to Jeremy Hunt about the concerns of arts organisations over the cap on tax relief for philanthropic donations announced in this year’s Budget.

The full text of the letter as follows:

Dear Jeremy,
 
There is a great deal of concern among arts organisations and supporters of arts and culture throughout the country about the cap on tax relief for philanthropic donations announced in this year’s Budget.
 
As Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, you have purported to champion philanthropy for the arts. Indeed, the ‘total amount of charitable giving’ is one of the four ‘impact indicators’ for your Department’s success.
 
With government cuts to the arts – cutting the Arts Council’s funding by 30%, squeezing local councils who fund local arts organisations and abolishing the Regional Development Agencies that helped arts organisations get funding – private giving is even more important.
 
In light of this, I would be very grateful if you could answer the following questions:
 
·  Were you consulted before the Budget about the tax relief cap?
·  In respect of charitable giving to the arts, how much tax revenue will the tax relief cap generate?
·  Have you made any assessment of the impact of the tax relief cap on cultural philanthropy and if so will you publish it?
·  According to figures from Arts and Business, 81% of individual giving is currently invested in  London. What assessment has the DCMS made of the likely impact of the tax relief cap on arts organisations outside of London?
·  Do you support the cap on tax relief for philanthropic giving announced in the Budget?
·  What evidence do you have of arts charities that you feel should not benefit from tax relief as they are insufficiently charitable?
·  What plans do you have to help support arts organisations already hit by cuts in public funding,  who now expect a fall in charitable donations?
 
I share the concerns of arts organisations across the country about the impact of this tax relief cap, on top of the public funding cuts which have already started to bite. The changes proposed in the Budget go against everything you have previously argued for, and further threaten the future of the arts in this country, arts which are a key part of British identity.
 
With the changes not due to come in until next year, there is still time for the Government to listen, think again and support important charitable giving to the arts. I urge you to reconsider the tax relief cap and stand up for the arts and culture.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP