The chief executives of seven major voluntary sector organisations have written to Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, to urge the government not to allow large charities the automatic right to pay trustees.
Lord Hodgson’s report into his review of the Charities Act 2006, published on Monday, recommended that charities with annual incomes of more than £1m should be able to pay trustees without asking the Charity Commission for consent, as is currently required.
A joint letter to Hurd, signed by the heads of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Institute of Fundraising, Navca, the Directory of Social Change, the Small Charities Coalition, Community Matters and Volunteering England, says the organisations are "strongly opposed" to the recommendation.
"Regardless of the size of a charity, each pound spent on remunerating trustees is one less on its charitable activities," it says.
"At a time of great financial pressure, not just on organisations but on the people and causes they serve, we believe it would be unjustifiable to introduce an automatic right to pay trustees," the letter says.
"The pressure that would follow for charities to begin paying their trustees or to increase their expenses and remuneration could be very damaging for the sector and their beneficiaries."
It also says that there is no research to justify wider payment of trustees and that evidence collected for Hodgson’s review indicated that 61 per cent of the public were against it.
"Given that charities of all shapes and sizes rely on public support – not just in terms of funding but, more fundamentally, for their legitimacy – it is vital not to put public trust and confidence at risk over this issue," it says.A Cabinet Office spokeswoman confirmed that Hurd’s office had received the letter and its contents were being considered.