Charities Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 12th October 2005.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip 3:30 pm, 12th October 2005

My Lords, Amendment No. 3 stands in the name of my noble friend Lady Scotland.

In Committee on 28 June the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig of Radley, moved an amendment which would have added the advancement of the effectiveness and welfare of the Armed Forces of the Crown to the list of descriptions of charitable purposes in Clause 2. The amendment attracted support from, among others, the noble Lords, Lord Phillips and Lord Hodgson. In my reply I promised to give further consideration to that matter and the amendment that I now move is a result of that consideration.

In moving his amendment in Committee, the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig, explained why he preferred to refer to the effectiveness and welfare rather than to the efficiency of the Armed Forces. Noble Lords will see that we have reverted to "efficiency". The good reason for this is that efficiency of the Armed Forces is the heading under which all Armed Forces charities including service non-public funds are currently recognised as charitable. It is a judicially recognised phrase and expression. By including this phrase in the Bill, then by reason of Clause 2(5) it will continue to have the same meaning as it currently has in charity law. If a different phrase were to be used, the courts may assume that Parliament had intended a different scope for this charitable head such that purposes that are not currently charitable could be held to come within this head.

Any purposes that are currently recognised as charitable but do not fall within our proposed phrase will continue to be charitable by means of Clause 2(2)(l) and Clause 2(4)(a). I beg to move.