50% increase in number of charities axed from register

Charity Commission removed 7,423 organisations in year to the end of March

The number of charities removed from the charities register increased by nearly 50 per cent in 2008/09.

According to statistics published by the Charity Commission after a question was asked in Parliament, 7,423 organisations were removed from the register of charities in the year to the end of March, compared with 5,073 in 2007/08 and 4,576 in 2006/07.

The increase was the result of a new strategy to promptly remove inactive charities with which the commission no longer has contact, said Andrew Hind, chief executive of the regulator. A peak in removals of 1,367 in November 2008 alone was a direct consequence of this strategy, he said.

The information was provided in response to a parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat charities spokeswoman Jenny Willott.

A minority of the removals occurred because of mergers, incorporation, transfer of funds or the discovery that charities were below the minimum threshold required for registration. Most "ceased to exist for other reasons", according to the commission.

According to Hind, insolvency caused a minority of charities to be removed under the "cease to exist for other reasons" category.

"Charities aren't required to give us a detailed reason when they wind up," said a Charity Commission spokeswoman. "But anecdotally we are aware that some charities have a limited life in terms of what they have been specifically set up to do, such as raising money for a church roof."

Other charities "run out of steam" and do not have enough members or volunteers to function, while in other cases there may no longer be any need for a particular charity to exist, she added.


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