European donation 'clawback' proposal will not be adopted by the UK

Justice secretary Jack Straw says it would have brought major practical difficulties

The Government has decided against adopting a European Commission regulation that might have allowed people to claim back all donations made to charities by relatives who have died.

The Institute of Fundraising called on members to lobby the Government last month over the possible adoption of the regulation on succession and wills. It is designed to harmonise policy across EU member states but might have given rise to the principle of ‘clawback'.

The institute warned that this meant the heirs of a dead person could insist that all donations made during that person's lifetime, including donations through payroll giving and direct debits, could be ‘clawed back' into their estates.

But in a written ministerial statement released yesterday, justice secretary Jack Straw said the introduction of the proposal could create "major practical difficulties", particularly for charities.

"The Government has concluded that the potential benefits of this proposal are outweighed by the risks and has therefore decided that the best course of action is not to opt in to the proposal and the UK will therefore not be bound by the outcome."

Louise Richards, director of policy and campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising, said: "We are very pleased that the Government has listened to the sector on this.

"The Government has seen the folly of introducing this proposal, which would have had huge disadvantages for charities."

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