Clark condemns commission's draft guidance

Shadow charities minister Greg Clark has criticised the Charity Commission's new draft guidance on campaigning, claiming it is more confusing than the original.

The commission published the draft on its website last week, ahead of its board meeting on Thursday. It is intended to clarify its existing guidance, known as CC9. The main change is that the rule saying political campaigning must not become a “dominant” activity and must “remain incidental or ancillary to the charity’s purposes”, has been scrapped

The draft now makes a distinction between “campaigning activities which can further charitable purposes” and “political activities which can be undertaken by a charity only in the context of supporting charitable purposes” (Third Sector Online, 25 January).

The new draft has so far been hailed as an improvement by campaigners, but Clark believes it muddies the waters more than ever.

“I fear that the Charity Commission, in seeking to help charities, may confuse them,” he said. “In September, the commission was clear that “the law is clear and well established” and political activity could not be the dominant means by which charities carry out their charitable purposes.

“By ditching the concept, the commission has given charities a misleading guide to the law.”

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