£550 million boost for charities

Charities are in line for a £550 million boost from improved tax breaks on wills and small gifts, according to the Chancellor.

The inheritance tax rate will be cut by 10% for people who leave at least that proportion of their estate to good causes.

Gift Aid will also be "dramatically simplified" so charities can lodge donors' details online - and not at all for small gifts.

George Osborne said: "If you leave 10% or more of your estate to charity, then the Government will take 10% off your inheritance tax rate.

"Let's be clear. No beneficiaries will be better off. Just the charities, to the tune of £300 million.

"I want to make giving 10% of your legacy to charity the norm in our country."

The Chancellor said a new scheme would allow Gift Aid to be claimed on small donations without the need for filling in forms, up to a limit of £5,000 per charity per year.

"That means Gift Aid on the contents of the collecting tin and the street bucket."

He went on: "Do the right thing for a charity, and the Government will do the right thing by you. It's a big help for the Big Society."

Gift Aid benefit limits will also be increased from £500 to £2,500 so that charities and museums can "say thank you properly" to substantial donors, and there will be a consultation on how to encourage donations of art.