Budget cuts cause concern at Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has warned that carrying out new responsibilities under the Charities Act will be a "tough challenge" after the announcement in yesterday's Comprehensive Spending Review that the regulator's budget is to drop by 5 per cent each year for three years.

In the short term, the commission has been allocated £500,000 to cover new work under the act in 2007/08 and £1m to implement a counter-terrorism strategy in the same period. But the new spending arrangements, set out by Chancellor Alistair Darling, confirmed that the commission’s baseline funding will decline steadily between 2008 and 2011.

Andrew Hind, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said he was confident the regulator could deliver its core responsibilities, but he said he was concerned by the fact there had been no mention of the commission’s settlement for licensing public charitable collections.

“Meeting the new responsibilities of the Charities Act 2006 and continuing to deliver on our strategic priorities, within a resource budget that will be reducing by 5 per cent a year, will of course be a tough challenge,” he said. “We are in positive discussions with the Office of the Third Sector and the Treasury over the necessary and available resources for developing a satisfactory way of implementing this aspect of the act.”

Stuart Etherington, chief executive of umbrella body the NCVO, said: “We are encouraged that the Charity Commission believes its funding settlement will be sufficient to deliver its undertakings under the Charities Act and its core regulatory duties.

“We hope that discussions about its duty to carry out the licensing of public charitable collections will be resolved as soon as possible and that the necessary funds to deliver this role will be provided.”

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