Charity income rises to £26bn

The income of registered charities has risen by 69 per cent over the past five years to £26 billion in 2002, according to the Charity Commission's annual report.

The massive increase, which is based on an analysis of the annual returns to the Commission of 161,000 main registered charities, will contradict the recent experience of many charities struggling with falling investment returns and stagnating public donations.

But it includes the income of charitable public schools and churches, as well as general registered charities meeting some form of public benefit.

According to NCVO, the 140,000 general charities had an income of £15.6 billion in 2001, an increase of just 7.6 per cent since 1997.

The Commission's report also shows that the number of registered charities has fallen from 188,116 to 185,948. But this is explained by the Commission's drive to remove inactive organisations from the register.

The number of applications for charitable status last year was 9,477, an increase of 1,500. Of these, 5,199 were accepted.

Out of the applicants that failed, 333 were rejected because they did not conform to a recognised charitable purpose.

Luke FitzHerbert of the Directory of Social Change said that the rejection rate was higher than in previous years. "It is disappointing that these figures show an even higher proportion of people failing in their efforts to register new charities. But much more alarming is the thought that this failure rate may be deterring thousands more from trying to get charities off the ground,

he said.

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