Northern Ireland aims for 2008 bill

Charity legislation for Northern Ireland could become law as early as summer 2008, the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland has said.

The Northern Ireland Executive is expected to clear draft charity legislation to be debated at Stormont. The proposals will then be debated in the assembly.

Seamus Murray, acting director for the Voluntary and Community Unit at the DSDNI, said that if things went as smooth-ly as the public consultation process, a charities bill could be passed by next summer and a Charity Commission for Northern Ireland could be set up by the end of 2008.

If the bill were passed, all charities operating in the country would have to meet a public benefit test similar to that of Scotland.

The draft bill also includes provisions to ensure that English and Irish charities would be able to register without complication.

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