The government will scrap ‘clawback’ clauses that prevent community organisations selling or changing the use of buildings they bought with the help of public money, the decentralisation minister Greg Clark has promised.
Clawback rights were imposed as part of several central grant programmes and meant that the government could reclaim a grant if the assets purchased with it were not used for their original purpose.
However, the clawback provision prevented charities borrowing against the value of their assets or moving to more suitable offices if the existing building no longer suited their purpose.
In a statement yesterday, Clark said he wanted to give community organisations more freedom to use their assets for the benefit of local people.
"Community and voluntary groups that know their areas best need a real say on how their local services, buildings and businesses are run," he said. "Ending clawback rights will put communities back in charge of community assets."
Steve Wyler, director of the Development Trusts Association, said the move was a "fantastic start".
"Clawback has meant that enterprising organisations have been developing community assets with one hand tied behind their back," he said. "The removal of these restrictions will really support them to grow and benefit even more local people."
The move will affect assets bought through four grant programmes: the Single Regeneration Budget, the Urban Programme, City Challenge and Inner Area Grants.
Voluntary organisations have also been asked to let ministers know of other grants programmes that have clawback rights attached.