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Whatever you give, I'll double it: George Osborne backs The Independent's Christmas Appeal in Autumn Statement

Every pound you give will now be matched by an equal donation from the Treasury

Jamie Merrill
Wednesday 25 November 2015 12:13 GMT
The Chancellor has said his pledge will be funded by putting to good use some of the money paid in fines by banks caught up in the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
The Chancellor has said his pledge will be funded by putting to good use some of the money paid in fines by banks caught up in the Libor rate-rigging scandal. (AP)

Every pound raised by The Independent’s Give to GOSH appeal will be matched by an equal gift from the Treasury under a “double your money” pledge made by George Osborne.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer threw his weight behind The Independent’s Christmas Appeal, which aims to help sick children from across the country being cared for by Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). The pledge will also help fund cutting-edge research programmes to find new cures and treatments for children suffering with rare diseases.

Mr Osborne’s pledge, which came as the Autumn Statement was unveiled in the House of Commons, means every donation made to the campaign will in effect be doubled to support the work at GOSH.

The Treasury pledge will be funded from fines paid by banks caught up in the Libor rate-rigging scandal. The Chancellor said: “I am delighted to back the important campaign by The Independent and the London Evening Standard for Great Ormond Street Hospital. The inspiring work of this hospital goes a long way in offering hope to children and families who really need it the most.

“This appeal will help it continue its great work as one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. As well as helping treat desperately ill children, this money will also be spent on providing support to the families of such youngsters.”

Funding from The Independent’s Give to GOSH appeal will also go towards a new 14-bed specialist unit to help children with heart failure and will support the Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care, for children suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses. The money will fund family support, including accommodation for parents so they can stay close to children going through stressful treatments.

The Chancellor’s commitment is capped at £1.5m in terms of contributions from the Treasury, and Mr Osborne has urged Independent readers to give generously to ensure that the £1.5m taken from bank fines is spent. “It is right that the fines we levy on banks for manipulating the Libor rates are used for extremely vital causes like this, and I urge everyone to get right behind the appeal so that we can donate the maximum amount,” he said.

Give to GOSH campaign

The move by the Chancellor has been welcomed by the hospital, with Dr Peter Steer, the chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital, expressing his delight at the match-funding announcement.

He said: “We are absolutely thrilled with today’s announcement that the UK Government will generously match all donations to the Give to GOSH appeal. Now the money given by you, the readers, to the children we see at Great Ormond Street Hospital will go twice as far.

“We urgently need your help to raise funds to maintain the very highest standards of care for our young patients, to pioneer new treatments and to simply make the whole experience of being in hospital a little more bearable.

“All the money you give will genuinely transform lives for children from all over the country and now there is even more incentive to dig deep as every pound you give will be matched by another pound donated by the Government. Thank you in advance for your support, from all the staff and patients at GOSH.”

Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of The Independent and i newspapers and our sister paper the London Evening Standard, which is also supporting the campaign, said the pledge would mean that even more sick children could be helped.

“This is wonderful news from the Chancellor,” said Mr Lebedev. “Our Give to GOSH appeal is to help critically ill children and every pound we raise will enable Great Ormond Street Hospital to do just that. “By promising to double every donation our readers give, we can now make sure even more children and their parents can get the treatment and support they need this Christmas.”

In the past, Libor fines levied from UBS, Rabobank, Barclays and Lloyds have been used to support military-related charities, blue light services including air ambulances, and small projects such as rebuilding playgrounds.

Fact file: What your money will buy

£3 could buy a box of glass microscope slides, which will allow researchers to examine life-threatening illnesses.

£16 could help the play team organise fun and vital activities for patients who may be in hospital for days, weeks or even months at a time.

£23 could pay for an hour’s research time of one of GOSH’s senior scientists on the hospital’s pioneering pain research programme, helping children with life-limiting conditions who often experience excruciating pain.

£25 could help lift a patient’s spirits by sending them to a magical Christmas party.

£50 could cover the costs for a parent to stay a night in family accommodation so families from across the UK are never far from their child while they are in hospital.

To Give to GOSH go to: http://ind.pn/1Mydxqt

To find out more about our appeal and why we're supporting GOSH go to: http://ind.pn/1MycZkrNATE

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