William Shawcross says consultation on charging could come by end of January

At the regulator's annual public meeting, the chair of the Charity Commission says he is convinced charity contribution is the only way to secure long-term funding

William Shawcross
William Shawcross

William Shawcross, chair of the Charity Commission, has said he hopes the regulator will by the end of the month launch a consultation on plans to charge charities for its services.

Speaking at yesterday’s Charity Commission annual public meeting in London, Shawcross repeated his desire to consult the sector about increasing the commission’s funding through financial contributions from some of the largest charities on the register.

And he told Third Sector he hoped the consultation would be launched "by the end of the month".

Cuts to the commission’s Treasury funding mean its budget has fallen by £8m since 2010 and will be frozen at £20.3m a year until 2020.

In his speech to the meeting, Shawcross described the consultation and the idea of a sector-funded commission as revolutionary.

"I understand this is a big change for the commission – it hasn’t happened since 1853 – and a big change for some charities themselves," he said.

"It’s not an easy conversation and some of you will not welcome it, but I am convinced that some form of charity contribution is the only way to secure adequate long-term funding for the commission and to develop key resources."

The regulator would consult "widely and publically" on the subject, Shawcross said.

In response to a question from the floor, he said all options would be considered in the consultation, but it was not up to the commission to say how the government should spend revenue from taxation.

Shawcross told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper earlier this month that the commission was considering asking the largest charities to pay a levy of between £60 and £3,000, depending on the charity’s size.

He also told the All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering in November that he hoped to raise £5m from charities in the next two years and was in talks with the government on the issue.

But he said he hoped charities with annual incomes of less than £20,000 would be exempt from the charge.

He previously said he believed sector funding for the commission was "inevitable".

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