Darling snubs charity aid request

Chancellor refuses to urge Financial Services Authority to help with Icelandic losses

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has refused to agree to a request from a Labour MP to ask the Financial Services Authority if it would reconsider the help it can give charities with money invested in failed Icelandic banks.

In a House of Commons debate on Thursday, Tony Lloyd said charities were in a unique position.

"Will it be possible to urge the FSA to look once again at the rather unique position of charities?" asked Lloyd, whose Manchester Central constituency includes the Christie's charity, which invested £6.5m in the UK-regulated bank Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.

"They are not equivalent to local authorities or individuals, but represent the many small donations of thousands upon thousands of individuals."

Darling said he fully understood Lloyd's point but did not agree to the request. He added: "We are very conscious of the position of charities. We will continue to see what we can do."

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme this month told Christie's, which fundraises for Manchester's Christie cancer hospital, that it would not allow its claim for £6.5m compensation.

The charity responded by saying it would apply for a judicial review of the FSCS decision.

In a separate debate on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Harriet Harman said there was "an absolute determination" to make sure Naomi House children's hospice retrieved all the money it lost in Icelandic banks.

But she did not agree to a request from Reading West Labour MP Martin Salter to find a way to include charities in the FSCS.

Harman added: "Perhaps we should have a topical debate on the effect on charities of the fall-off in charitable giving, particularly by corporate bodies, and discuss what our strategic response should be."

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