Jenny Willott says independence of NHS charities is under threat

Liberal Democrat third sector spokeswoman tables early day motion opposing change resulting from new accounting rules

Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for the third sector, has lodged a parliamentary motion calling on the Government to put a stop to accounting changes that she says will undermine the independence of some NHS charities and put their income from donations under threat.

The NHS has written to strategic health authorities telling them that auditors might require NHS trusts to consolidate the accounts of NHS charities into their own accounts if they act as sole trustee of the charities. The Charity Commission has said it is opposed to the move to consolidate because it raised a substantial risk that misapplication of charitable funds would be more frequent.

The changes are being introduced under a new standard, International Accounting Standard 27, which requires organisations to consolidate the accounts of subsidiary bodies they control.

The early day motion lodged by Willott says the decision to apply IAS 27 to third sector organisations is "entirely inappropriate" and calls on the Treasury and the Office of the Third Sector to "take action to ensure that the existing independence of NHS charities from public sector bodies is maintained".

The motion claims the move to consolidate could affect £2bn of charitable assets, and that the changes would "seriously undermine the independence of those charities and damage their level of income from donations" if they went ahead.


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