Clause 44

Charities Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:00 pm on 11 July 2006.

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Merger of charities

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Conservative, Worthing West

I think I am right in saying that it is not one of the purposes of the Charity Commission to encourage mergers. In my opinion, that is the correct position for the commission to take, but I think that those of us who are involved in charities and interested in their work should encourage mergers, and I hope that all charities—whether incorporated or unincorporated—will find ways of joining together, whether as a true marriage of equals or with one becoming a restricted fund within an existing charity.

As a trustee, I am conscious of the responsibility to keep down administrative costs and I hope that those running the charities, both trustees and staff, can devote an increasing amount of their time to the purposes for which the charities exist rather than to the maintenance of the charity itself. If in 10 years’ time we had half the number of charities in this country, I expect that they would be achieving more in terms of their charitable purposes.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

As always, the hon. Member for Worthing, West speaks wise words. The clause does not only create a new register of charity mergers, but, hopefully, it will enable mergers to take place more easily with the pre-merger vesting declaration, which is a device to enable the automatic transfer from one charity to another of many types of property that need to be transferred during a merger. I hope that the clause will stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 44 ordered to stand part of the Bill.