Renewed calls to alter charities laws

Chairperson of the Local Government Association Sir Jeremy Beecham
has backed calls for a charities bill to be included in the Queen’s
speech.

In a letter sent to home secretary David Blunkett last week,
Beecham wrote: “Local councils have crucial working relationships
with the voluntary and charity sector in their areas.

“Updated charities legislation would enable local authorities to
develop new forms of relationships with this important sector that
would benefit local public services and local people.”

Blunkett promised in February that he would push through a bill “as
soon as possible” (news, page 10, 20 February), and calls for its
introduction are mounting.

According to chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary
Organisations, Stuart Etherington, “consensus on the need for
reform of our antiquated charity laws is now almost complete.

“The voluntary sector, representatives of local government and the
private sector all agree that charitable status should be based on
the principle of public benefit and that regulation of the sector
be reformed.”

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