Charities group calls for action on 'unsustainable' rise in insurance costs – The Irish Times

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The charities group The Wheel is seeking new legislation to rebalance the duty of care, as well as reform of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. Photograph: iStock
The Government must act on excessive insurance costs which are threatening community initiatives and events, according to The Wheel, Ireland’s national association of charities.
The organisation’s pre-budget submission said that the “unsustainable rise” in insurance costs is having a very serious impact on charities, social enterprises and community and voluntary organisations.
The group is seeking new legislation to rebalance the duty of care, as well as reform of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.
The Wheel also wanted to see “continued clear commitments” from insurers in relation to cost reductions.
The pre-budget submission also called for increased funding for community and voluntary organisations who provide the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Tusla with services.
“Government should make provision for sustainable terms and conditions to support staff retention and progression in HSE-funded Section 39 and Tusla-funded Section 56 organisations,” the submission states.
“Increases for services budgets have not been generally applied since the 2008 crisis and services are now significantly underfunded.”
The Wheel also called for the introduction of multi-annual funding arrangements, which would allow charities to plan long-term.
The VAT compensation scheme for charities should also be retained and increased to €20 million annually in the upcoming budget, according to The Wheel.
The scheme was first introduced in 2018 and it allows charities to claim a refund on a proportion of their VAT costs, based on their level of non-public funding.
The scheme is capped at €5 million annually and was due to be reviewed this year.
The Wheel also said that charities, community organisations and social enterprises should be included in all of the Government’s pandemic recovery supports.
The submission also stated that the introduction of a Charities Compliance and Reporting Matching Fund of €4.6 million, equivalent to the budget allocated to the Charities Regulator, would combat the cost of increased regulation of the sector.
A direct tax incentive capped at €1 million should also be introduced for major gift donations, according to the submission, and the cost of making a will should be exempt from VAT if a charitable bequest is included in that will.
The group also asked for a €10m investment in the Stability Fund for 2021, as well as a special €10m Charity Recovery Fund for 2022.
The group also want to see dedicated funding to deliver the recommendations of three national strategies relating to the community and voluntary sector, social enterprises and volunteering.
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