Charities Bill [HL]
Lord Craig of Radley (Crossbench)
My Lords, I thank the Government for the amendment which copies word for word the amendment which I first submitted to your Lordships' Committee in Clause 2 on the Bill that was lost due to dissolution.
I am delighted that the charitable purpose of promoting the efficiency of the Armed Forces of the Crown—and thus of some 15,000 service non-public funds which do so much to promote the well-being of the Armed Forces—is now specifically recognised in the Bill.
Such purposes beneficial to the community, along with the relief of poverty, the advancement of education and the advancement of religion—the four charitable heads which arise from the 1601 statute—merit this explicit inclusion. I welcome that, though it would be interesting to hear the Government's reason for its placement in the list of purposes between Clause 2(2)(j),
"the relief of those in need",
and Clause 2(2)(k),
"the advancement of animal welfare".
My own preference had been for it to be up with other heads of charity, the relief of poverty and the advancement of education and religion. When he replies—and I do not wish to sound uncharitable or ungrateful to raise this point—can the Minister enlighten us?
In response to my earlier remarks in Committee on
"The Government have ensured that the charitable position of service non-public funds is fully and properly protected by the Bill. There is no doubt about that".—[Hansard, 28/6/05; col.136.]
His amendment is directly helpful to that position. But the Minister is aware of my concern expressed in Committee on
The meaning of "charitable purpose" in Clause 2(2)(l) requires two things: that the purpose falls within the list in Clause (2)(2); and is for "the public benefit". Given the Minister's statement, can he assure the House that SNPFs meet in full the meaning of charitable purpose as set out in the Bill? It would greatly reassure me if he would do so.