Naomi House has said it will launch its own bid for a judicial review of the Government's decision not to compensate it for its £5.5m losses in the collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, Singer & Friedlander, regardless of whether the other members of the Save Our Savings coalition also launch a case.
The SOS group, which contains 30 charities that had a total of £50m invested in KSF, reacted with fury to the Treasury's decision in June to reject calls from the Treasury Select Committee to fully compensate them for their losses.
The group indicated that it intended to seek a judicial review of the decision. But Khalid Aziz, chairman of Naomi House, told Third Sector the hospice had decided to press ahead with its own legal action regardless of whether the rest of the group decided to proceed. The charities have been told by KSF's administrators to expect to recoup about 50 per cent of their losses, but Aziz said Naomi House needed the money immediately.
He said the charity had also put in a Freedom of Information request to find out what communications the Government had had with the Christie's hospital charity in Manchester, whose losses of £6.5m in KSF were compensated by its local strategic health authority.
Aziz said: "Christie's was in exactly the same position as us, but it got the personal intervention of the Prime Minister because he was there on a planned visit and was hijacked by some fundraisers and promised to look in to it. We are pleased it got its money and if that is the solution then we would like to do that too."
He said Gordon Brown had not replied to a letter from Naomi House asking him to intervene on its behalf. But he said Naomi House had been advised that his intervention in the Christie's case strengthened its own legal case. "It is a welcome inconsistency," he said.
He said the charity was wary of throwing good money after bad but insisted the cost of the legal challenge was much less than the figure it stood to gain.
He said: "We want the Government to see the iniquity of compensating retail depositors but not us because we are supposedly sophisticated investors."
He said Dave Whelan, founder of JJB Sports and the chairman of Wigan Athletic Football Club, had more than £60m of his own funds tied up in the Icelandic banks but had had it returned to him on a fast-track basis following the intervention of the chancellor Alistair Darling. "If he is not a sophisticated investor then I am a Dutchman," Aziz said.
Dominic Sullivan, director of legal services at Cats Protection, which is spearheading the SOS group, said: "We will no doubt be speaking to Naomi House and the rest of SOS about Naomi House's planned action against the Government over the next few days. Each charity has to do what it thinks best to recover its funds and each charity has to make its own decisions about individual and collective action."