Stephen Phillips suggests that the United States enjoys a more favourable regime of tax relief on gifts to charity than Europe ("In the game of seeking out sponsors, institutions may be gambling their integrity", THES , February 22). This is a popular misconception.
Since the New Gift Aid scheme came into effect in April 2000, the UK has more generous tax relief on gifts from personal income or corporate taxable profits than the US. Capital gains tax relief is also available as is personal income tax relief on gifts of quoted securities. Some US universities raise more money each year in the UK than their UK counterparts. To correct this imbalance, we need to have a clear sense of our institutional mission and purpose, to examine the extent to which we will allow volunteers and supporters to become involved with shaping and supporting that mission and purpose, and to stop being so apologetic about the need to raise philanthropic support. This need not compromise adademic freedom.
We need to be proud of the contribution higher education makes to a civil and economically productive society, and we need bodies such as Universities UK to be passionate about the way they speak and lobby for us.
Adrian P. Beney
Development and alumni relations
University of Durham