Angela Smith gives assurance over NHS charities' accounts

Third sector minister backs health minister Phil Hope's statement that hospital charities' funds will remain independent

Third sector minister Angela Smith has repeated assurances given last week by health minister Phil Hope that changes to accounting practices will not affect the independence of NHS charities.

Smith was addressing MPs during yesterday's Cabinet Office questions in the House of Commons.

She said Hope, a former third sector minister, was working with Treasury colleagues to delay by a year the introduction of new international financial reporting standards that would force NHS trusts to include the accounts of their associated charities on their balance sheets.

She refused to rule out the eventual introduction of the rules but gave "categorical assurance" that the funds of NHS charities would remain entirely controlled by their trustees.

Nick Hurd, the shadow minister for the third sector, said the Charity Commission had warned 18 months ago that the proposals could undermine public confidence in the independence of NHS charities.

"These accounting standards were never meant to be applied to charities," he said. "Other countries have chosen not apply them in this way. They are being imposed because of bureaucratic diktat."

He called on Smith to work with Hope and the Treasury "not just to defer a decision for another year but to drop this whole nonsense altogether".

Smith said Hope fully understood the views of the house and would "ensure those views are represented at all times".


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