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  1. Impact Philanthropy
April 12, 2012

Richard Ross: Reverse the ‘Perverse’ Tax Relief Cap Now, Before Its Too Late

By Spear's

Award-winning philanthropist Richard Ross, whose family trust, Rosetrees, has donated many millions of pounds to fund hundreds of cutting-edge medical research projects, explains why he hopes the government will amend its proposed cap to charitable tax relief, before it’s too late. When the Government was elected it supported the Big Society to promote philanthropy, which it now proposes to restrict by capping tax relief on charitable giving — how perverse and how totally wrong. They are confusing the public by presenting someone who earns a million pounds and through avoidance pays no tax and finishes up with £1million, with someone who gives £1million to charity and finishes up with nothing whilst the charity gains. If a small minority is abusing the tax relief available for genuine charities then The Charity Commission should have a team to identify and stop this harm to us all. At a time when the gap between rich and poor is widening, philanthropy is a way for the well-off to give both their time and money to a cause they really believe in, to help others. If anyone would like to consider supporting medical research, Rosetrees would be happy to share its expertise for no cost. This country has world class medical researchers and given the proper funding can enlarge this sector to provide employment, income and knowledge which will benefit the whole country. Rosetrees hopes to encourage its peer group to follow suit and the multiplier charity effect could make a massive difference to all of us over time. My parents worked very hard for many years to create a successful business and on their golden anniversary created Rosetrees, which has made a major contribution to medical research over the last 25 years. The tax relief enhanced the value of their generosity and has helped Rosetrees support world class researchers in their quest to improve everyone’s health. Ironically, Rosetrees is helping to fill the budget hole left by Government under-funding gap for research and I would suggest that — given our expertise and our business-like approach to charitable giving — we spend our money more effectively than a civil servant given someone else’s money to spend. The Government’s proposal to restrict tax relief on all charitable donations is wrong, but it’s not too late to amend their proposal so it only stops those who are abusing the system. In fact, why not go one better and give more incentives so a greater number of people give more to deserving causes.

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