Charities 'might pay up to £3,000 a year' to fund Charity Commission, says Shawcross

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the regulator's chair says a consultation on the proposed levy will be launched in the near future

William Shawcross
William Shawcross

Charities in England and Wales might have to pay a levy of up to £3,000 a year to fund the Charity Commission, according to William Shawcross, the regulator’s chair.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, published last weekend, Shawcross said the regulator was considering charging charities an annual fee of between £60 and £3,000 according to their size, with a consultation on a levy expected to be launched in the near future.

The regulator was also considering setting up a new advice line for charities, which would be funded by the levy, the paper reported.

A spokesman for the Charity Commission said today the consultation would ask for views on how much charities should pay, but declined to comment on when this would take place or on any of the details in the article.

In the interview, Shawcross said: "We have been unable to do as much support as we did in the past – I would like to do a bit more of that. Politicians may say this is a charity tax – we would say that with that extra money we would give more service to the charities.

"In the old days we regulated and supported – we have had to cut down on the support. So I want to persuade the charity sector they should contribute to us."

This follows Shawcross’s appearance at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering in November, where he said the commission hoped to raise £5m from the levy over the next two years.

In the same APPG session, Shawcross said he hoped charities with annual incomes of less than £20,000 would be exempt from the levy.

The Charity Commission has faced significant funding issues in recent years, with its Treasury funding falling by £8m since 2010 and frozen at £20.3m until 2020.

In his interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Shawcross said that some charities and chief executives were "thin-skinned" and executive salaries should "represent value for money".

He said trustees should consider how high salaries appear to "people putting their £10 in the tin", but it was not the commission’s job to decide how much charities should pay their chief executives.

Shawcross reiterated concerns that the infiltration of charities by extremists was, while not the most common problem the commission faced, "the most potentially dangerous and deadly" issue facing the sector.

The newspaper reported that the number of concerns it had shared with police about links between charities and extremism had risen from 234 to 630 a year over the past three years.

Shawcross expressed concern about the Royal Albert Hall, where seat owners, some of whom could be board members, were able to sell tickets for events at the hall for up to £3,000 each.

The paper said the charity had been given until May to rectify the situation or face a statutory inquiry.

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