The arts are very profitable so we should subsidise them.
This is far worse:
Instead of investment, the government looks to philanthropy. Last week Vivien Duffield gave an admirable £8.2m to her chosen arts venues. As she did so, she commanded another 20%, or £2m, in tax relief. Charity is a fine thing, but the state – or in this case the Arts Council – is a more trustworthy distributor of taxpayers’ money than the whims of wealthy donors. The budget offered a further bonus of inheritance tax relief to anyone leaving 10% to charity in their will: Duffield’s pet arts schemes command our cash too; hardly a democratic distribution.
I’m pretty sure she’s got tax law wrong here anyway: the money comes from a charitable foundation and so was never subject to tax in the first place. Thus no Gift Aid is payable (please, as ever, correct me if I’m wrong).
But what’s truly appalling is the implicit argument there: that the State spends money better than people do themselves.
Gift Aid isn’t “government money” which then follows the desires of donors. It’s an admission that we don’t want to tax people who give away their money to charities. So, when people do give money to charity we put into the pot the tax they’ve already paid on that dosh.
But Polly is equating this with taxes being raised upon us all being spent upon the desires of those rich folks: which just ain’t true.
Worse, she’s then going on to say that having bureaucrats allocate the money is better than people doing it for themselves. Really, a rather foul view of human freedom.
And having had a look, yes, given that the donations come from the Clore Duffield Foundation I’m near certain that there would be no gift aid added to them. Because there’s been no tax paid there will be no tax repaid, will there?
Not unless charity law is even more screwed up than even I think it is……