Charity Commission censures four charities that signed pro-Tory letter | Comic Relief investment income fell by £2m last year | HMRC revises down value of Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

Plus: Regulator orders mosque charity to remove party political mural from dome | Government 'should consider passing appointment of commission chair to parliament' | Citizens Advice begins £1m rebrand

The letter in The Daily Telegraph
The letter in The Daily Telegraph

The Charity Commission has written to four charities that appeared among more than 5,000 signatories of a letter to The Daily Telegraph newspaper in support of the Conservative Party, asking that they "remedy the situation swiftly". The Telegraph published a letter on Monday that said: "We would like to see David Cameron and George Osborne given the chance to finish what they have started."

Comic Relief’s income from investments fell by more than £2m last year as a result of action recommended by an investment review instituted after a BBC Panorama programme revealed the charity's holdings in alcohol, arms and tobacco companies. The figures appear in the Comic Relief accounts for the year to July 2014, filed with Companies House this week, which also show that it spent £60,000 on lawyers defending its position in relation to the Panorama programme.

The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme is predicted to have been worth £21m to charities in 2014/15, £2m less than originally estimated, according to the latest HM Revenue & Customs figures.

An east London mosque and registered charity will remove a mural painted on its dome that urges people to vote for a candidate who is running in the same constituency as the Ukip leader Nigel Farage, after the Charity Commission was alerted. Last week, the slogan "Vote for Hope, Vote for Nigel Askew – Reality Party" was painted on the dome of Shacklewell Lane Mosque in Dalston, which is owned and operated by the UK Turkish Islamic Trust.

Government should consider giving control over the appointment of the chair of the Charity Commission to parliament, making the chair’s term non-renewable and fixed or making changes to the pre-appointment hearing process, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations has recommended. The suggestion came in a discussion paper based on the umbrella body's review of the commission’s governance arrangements, which was launched in October.

Citizens Advice, the umbrella body for local advice charities in England and Wales, has begun a £1m rebrand that will result in local branches dropping the word "bureau" from their names.

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