The hon. Gentleman asks a reasonable question. He is really talking about the Government providing an unsecured loan facility for affected charities, but we do not feel that that would be an effective use of public funding, simply because there is no additional source for such a grant fund to be drawn from. The money would have to be taken out of moneys already earmarked for charitable purposes by the Office of the Third Sector, which would mean taking money out of a series of initiatives that have been decided on for strategic reasons, including third sector capacity building, volunteering, public service delivery and social enterprise programmes.
We could do that, but if one looks at the list of charities that are most affected by the freezing of their assets in Icelandic banks, all are worthy but not all tie in directly with objectives that we would normally expect public money to be used for. I am a great lover of cats, and Cats Protection is one of the charities. How would we distinguish between helping one charity and another in that context, and do so in a way that could be seen to be fair legally?
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