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Feb 15

Policy update // Sector submission and the Future of Community Assets event in Parliament

Policy

Here’s a round up of Locality’s policy and influencing work, including our key priorities this month, and how you can get involved.

Sector submission to the Treasury

Next month, the Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver the Spring Budget setting out forecasts for the economy and proposals for changes to taxation. We have been working with a number of sector organisations – including CFG, NAVCA, and SEUKto develop proposals for how the taxation system can better support voluntary and community organisations.

We are calling for:

  • Government to ensure mandatory 100% business rate relief for charities
    • Currently, there is only 80% mandatory relief, with some councils deciding to retain the extra 20% and others not
    • Businesses are receiving £6.7 billion cuts in rates, and a move to increase charitable rate relief to 100% would therefore put civil society on an equal footing.
  • Increasing the threshold of national insurance contributions that charities can claim back from £3,000 to £7,000 in order to adapt to the costs of the new national living wage
    • Businesses are already receiving support through routes such as cuts to corporation tax, so this would help to level the playing field for the voluntary sector.
  • Reduce irrecoverable VAT for charities and lower the Insurance Premium Tax for charities to 6%
    • This could save the sector millions of pounds every year that could be spent on delivering public benefit.

New guide for councillors and commissioners on how to ‘Keep it Local’

We have published a new guide for councillors and commissioners. Based on our key principle of Keep it Local – this guide busts myths around commissioning locally and showcases the benefits of working with community anchor organisations.

It calls for commissioners and councils to:

  • Adopt a place-based approach
  • Demonstrate social value
  • Commit to building community capacity
  • Impose a maximum value on contracts
  • Involve local people through co-design.

We are calling on councillors and commissioners to join our Keep it Local network and for members and community organisations to spread these principles far and wide within your local area.

Also this month, Charities minister Rob Wilson has announced that the Government will be launching a review of the Social Value Act. This will be an important opportunity to demonstrate how the Social Value Act could be made more effective. A key change we are calling for is for the Act to be amended so that contracting authorities are not just required to ‘consider’ social value, but to actively account for it in their procurement decisions.

Join us at a Parliamentary event on the Future of Community Assets

We are bringing together politicians, funders, policy-makers and community organisations to discuss our campaign Places and Spaces: the future of community assets ownership. The event will be an opportunity to build a coalition of support for our ambitious Community Assets Investment Plan.

The event is being hosted in Parliament with speakers including Louise Haigh MP and Andy Jackson (Heeley People’s Park), on the 20 March, 6.30pm- 8pm. All Locality members are invited to attend (so look out for further details in your inbox!) and you can RSVP by filling in this booking form.

For this campaign, we’ve written a template letter you can fill out and send to your MP about Places and Spaces. The template includes information about the event in the House of Commons to encourage them to come along.

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