Charities

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th June 1991.

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Photo of Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes , Wimbledon 12:00 am, 6th June 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations he has had towards implementation of the Woodfield report on charities.

Photo of Mr John Patten Mr John Patten , Oxford West and Abingdon

A wide range of charities and other interested bodies and individuals made helpful comments on the Woodfield report. The Government took account of those comments when preparing the 1989 White Paper and are continuing to do so in preparing forthcoming legislation.

Photo of Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes , Wimbledon

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Woodfield report, which addresses the proper administration of charities, has gathered dust for far too long? Does he further agree that recent allegations about misconduct in well-known charities does enormous damage and undermines the confidence and thus the generosity of the British people's charitable giving?

Photo of Mr John Patten Mr John Patten , Oxford West and Abingdon

We want to sustain charitable giving in this country at its present record level. The British people are very generous, but my hon. Friend is right to say that nothing undermines that generous streak in the British character more than the fact that money is not reaching the right target or the right people or that political agitation is linked to charitable activity.

Photo of John McAllion John McAllion , Dundee East

Will the Minister confirm that the complaints against Oxfam are focused on its support for the use of sanctions against the apartheid system in South Africa and on its opposition to international support for the murderous Pol Pot who threatens a new holocaust in Cambodia? Why is it too political for charities to put the needs of the poor before self-serving power politics in the west?

Photo of Mr John Patten Mr John Patten , Oxford West and Abingdon

That is not a matter for Ministers. Under British law it is entirely a matter for the charity commissioners.