Government increases Charity Commission budget

Extra cash for office modernisation and new technology

The Government has increased the Charity Commission's budget for the current financial year by £1.6m to £31.8m.

The money will be spent on modernising the regulator's offices in London, Liverpool and Taunton and on new technology.

London staff relocated this year from Harmsworth House to smaller premises in Millbank. The Liverpool office is being renovated to accommodate all employees on one floor and the Taunton site is being adapted to accommodate fewer people and more hot-desking.

Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, announced the increase in budget to Parliament last week.

The sum awarded is the equivalent to the amount saved by the commission so far during its current 2008 to 2011 spending period.

But the Treasury, which approved the move, has warned that it would be less willing to allow end-of-year flexibilities to be retrieved next year because of the state of the public finances.

"We've done well to get the money back," said Nick Allaway, director of corporate services and charity information at the commission. "Some departments are struggling to get it."

The Government has reduced the commission's funding by 5 per cent each year for three years, despite giving it a number of new responsibilities.

A commission board meeting last week agreed to review general and administrative spending budgets and to "plan on the assumption of further funding reductions".

Allaway said he hoped the Chancellor's pre-Budget report on 9 December would give some clues to the commission's likely funding settlement for the 2011 to 2014 comprehensive spending review. "The uncertainty is not helping our planning process," he said.


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