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Key points of the 2015 budget for the voluntary sector

By Matt Adams on 18 Mar 2015

National minimum wage to rise by 20p an hour to £6.70.

The hourly rate for younger workers will also rise, and for apprentices it will go up by 20% - or 57p - to £3.30 an hour.

£75m raised from Libor fines to go to charities for regiments which fought in Afghanistan and government to contribute towards permanent memorial to those who died in Afghanistan and Iraq and help renovate Battle of Britain memorials.

Charities will be able to claim automatic gift aid on first £8,000 raised through sponsored events, up from £5,000.

The increase in the tax-free personal allowance to £11k means that fewer low earners will be able to top up donations with gift aid.

A review of relief on business rates is promised, which may lead to changes to the existing exemption for charities.

There will be a "major expansion" in mental health services, with £1.25bn spent on mental health services for children and new mums.

Hospice charities will be eligible for VAT refunds from 1 April 2015 and this will be legislated for in Finance Bill 2015.

The government announced at Autumn Statement 2014 that search and rescue, and air ambulance charities will be eligible for VAT refunds.

The Office for Civil Society will take forward the procurement of a partner to deliver subsidised fundraising training to small charities in 2015-16.

The full budget documents are online here.  The charities section starts on page 81.