The Government is facing strong opposition in the House of Lords to its plan to impose a cap on tax relief on charitable donations.
A survey of 79 Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers found that 70 per cent believe charitable gifts should be exempt from the cap announced in the March Budget, while 81 per cent think the ceiling will reduce the funds available for the work of charities.
Ministers will meet charity leaders today at an event called the Giving Summit, but it has been scaled down following the row which erupted after George Osborne announced that tax relief would be capped at £50,000 or 25 per cent of annual income, whichever is greater. The Government is thought likely to make a tactical retreat to limit the impact on charities.
According to the summit's agenda, one hour will be devoted to a discussion of the tax relief cap, hosted by David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. The chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, Thomas Hughes-Hallett, said that if no movement on the issue was forthcoming, "we really need to make a fuss".
A separate poll of 2,000 voters by ComRes found that six out of 10 people believe there should be no ceiling. The same proportion think the proposal contradicts the idea of a "Big Society".
John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, which commissioned both polls, said: "We are not asking the Government to drop caps on all tax relief. We are only calling for charitable donations to be exempt."