According to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), more than £60 billion has been donated to charities through Gift Aid during its 25-year history, which was celebrated this month.
Gift Aid was launched in October 1990 by John Major (the then future Prime Minister). However, the scheme underwent big changes in 2000, when Chancellor Gordon Brown removed the restriction that it could only apply to donations of £600 or more. Since then, Gift Aid receipts have grown by an average of 15 per cent each year.
HMRC has announced that it expects charities to claim £1.2 billion from the tax relief this financial year.
Commenting on Gift Aid’s success, John Major said: “Governments, however wealthy, cannot meet the scale of need that exists. That is why philanthropy and charity are so important.
“As Chancellor of the Exchequer I felt it was only right that the act of giving was maximised by introducing the gift aid scheme, which is now worth over one billion pounds to charities.”
John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: “Since the lower rate on a donation valid for gift aid was removed, the scheme is truly inclusive and proved to be a success with governments of all complexions.
“Britain is one of the world’s most generous countries and it is fitting that we have the world’s greatest charitable tax relief.”