The Chancellor, George Osborne, presented his fourth Budget today, against a backdrop of poor growth and declining poll ratings for his Party since last year’s Budget.
Many of us are feeling the pinch in these harsh economic times – including many affected by cancer.
Here’s our reaction to the budget as it affects us at Cancer Research UK.
We were pleased to hear Osborne announce that the Government will start collecting feedback on how to make it easier to claim Gift Aid online. This will include possible options for completing a single Gift Aid declaration to cover all your donations through one channel. We will be submitting our thoughts on this.
Disappointingly, there was confirmation that the VAT exemption for particular forms of ‘commissioned’ research, known as ‘business supplies of research’, will be withdrawn. We were expecting this and it could have an impact on some of our population studies and clinical trials’ grants. We’ve already let the Government know about its potential impact on Cancer Research UK.
Tobacco duties rose by two per cent above inflation. We called for a five per cent above-inflation rise, so we think this is a missed opportunity and, again, we’re disappointed. We’ll keep pressing the Government to introduce plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products, and we hope for legislation to be introduced in the Queen’s Speech on 8th May.
On alcohol, we were further disappointed that beer duty has been cut . We support measures to reduce the affordability of alcohol over time, particularly through policies like minimum unit pricing, as is being introduced in Scotland.
As the media focus moves on from the budget, we’re looking forward to making the case for science spending to the Government over the next month in advance of the spending round decisions for 2015/6 that will be announced on 26th June.
We are pleased to hear that health spending will remain ring fenced from further cuts to other departments.