Politics: Tory Charities Bill amendment fails

A final effort by the Conservative Party to reduce government influence over the Charity Commission failed last week, as the Charities Bill completed its last stage in Parliament. The Bill received Royal Assent on 8 November.

Tory peer Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbots tabled an amendment that would have given final say on the appointment of new staff and their pay and conditions to the commission, not the Government.

He said the Bill's wording on this issue could be interpreted as "weasel words" that implied the appointment of new staff needed the approval of the Government.

The peer said he thought it left "the slightly uneasy feeling that a determined minister in the future could grab the powers and influence the commission in a way that all sides of the House agree would be undesirable".

Cabinet Office spokesman Lord Bassam said he disagreed with the amendment on the grounds that commission staff were unhappy about the prospect of being outside the civil service when it came to pay and conditions.

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