Lord Phillips of Sudbury has called for the government to reconsider its funding cuts to the Charity Commission and to ring-fence the regulator’s budget for enforcing charity law.
The Liberal Democrat peer was responding to Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the government spokesman for the Cabinet Office in the House of Lords, during a debate about bogus charities last week.
"Does my noble friend accept that it would be wise for the government, when they undertake the shortly to be commenced review of the Charities Act 2006, to review the present planned reduction in Charity Commission funding of one-third over the next four years?" asked Phillips.
"Will the government not at least think to ring-fence that part of the commission expenditure that relates to enforcement, which is vital to maintain the cherished integrity of charities?"
Lord Taylor said: "I cannot deny that there is always a link between resources and function. But I am also sure that noble Lords will appreciate that the government’s priority at the moment is about spending priorities, given the need to provide deficit reduction."
The Charity Commission’s budget has been reduced from £29.3m in 2010/11 to £21.3m in 2014/15.
Lord Taylor also said that he was not complacent about charity fraud, but the government had devoted "considerable resources" to addressing the issue.