MP's VIEW ON THE BOXING DAY DISASTER

News Article for Local Papers

The news of the devastion wrought by the tsunami in South East Asia - and as far as the coast of Africa - was utterly shocking. I know some places involved through the work I do with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association: our future meetings will inevitably be concerned with trying to help the survivors to rebuild their lives and communities in the aftermath of this terrible disaster.

There was relief for families who got the news that relatives and friends were safe, but the massive loss of life really affects everyone. Even the most hardened of observers was moved by the sight of the destruction. Experienced soliders and aid workers have seen nothing like it. Realistically, it will take decades to recover from this tragedy.

People in the Chesham and Amersham area, as throughout Britain, have given unstintingly to the disaster funds. One of the best ways to help the charities involved is for taxpayers to sign a Gift Aid declaration, so that every charity can claim back tax paid on the gift.

It is really easy to do this and every UK-registered charity can benefit from donations in this way. Any taxpayer qualifies, as long as he or she pays at least as much tax as will be recovered from the gift. Higher rate taxpayers can ensure the difference between the basic and higher rate is recovered. Such higher rate taxpayers need to tick the Gif Aid box on their annual self-assessment form. Even people who think they do not qualify as taxpayers may be able to give through Gift Aid if they pay tax on their savings.

It is also possible to claim Gift Aid on donations to more than one charity. Please do not hesitate: if you qualify, sign the Gift Aid declaration for the charities which you support, because this will enable your donation to go even further.