Charities Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 12th October 2005.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip 4:15 pm, 12th October 2005

My Lords, the noble Lord is right. Of course it would be possible for the trustees to sell the school as a going concern to a private company, and one's expectation would be that that would be done in the knowledge that adjacent charitable purposes would take effect. Otherwise the disposal of the assets would not work. That is how we see it in operation. One would expect that anybody taking on those assets would do so in the knowledge that they had a workable scheme. I am sure it is not unknown—the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, will know more about this than I—for such situations to arise and for there to be have been a useful transfer of assets and a continuing and effective charitable purpose.

I think instances of this sort will be very few in number, but the noble Lord, Lord MacGregor, and the Committee session in particular made a very persuasive case for some consideration to be given to this point, and we have given it very careful consideration. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips, is right that the law as it is should work and should be effective, and should enable the continuation of a useful and valuable charitable purpose even where an organisation can no longer operate in the way it was originally intended, but with the adoption of a new scheme can give effect to the broad thrust of the original charitable intent.