QUEEN'S SPEECH: CHARITIES BILL: Main Points

These are the main measures expected in the new Charities Bill, as laid out in 'A Modern Legal Framework', the Government's response earlier this year to the Strategy Unit report

- A comprehensive list of 12 charitable purposes and a requirement for charities to show "public benefit". These include purposes already commonly accepted as charitable, such as education and religion, along with some less familiar ones, such as human rights and amateur sport.

- Reform of the Charity Commission, laying out clear regulatory objectives, and reporting of its own performance, and an independent tribunal to hear appeals against its decisions.

- Income threshold for registration of charities to be raised from £1,000 to £5,000, with voluntary registration below that level. Audit threshold to be raised to income of £500,000.

- Excepted charities, such as religious organisations, Scouts and Guides, and exempt charities, such as universities and housing associations, to be required to register with the Charity Commission.

- An overhaul of licensing arrangements for public charitable collections, and a reserve power prescribing good practice in fundraising, with self-regulation preferred as a first resort.

- A power allowing trustees to be paid, and a provision for trustees to escape liability for breach of trust if they have acted honestly and reasonably.

- A new legal form of Charitable Incorporated Organisation, intended to allow charities to reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency; also measures to facilitate charity mergers and administration.

- A requirement that professional fundraisers and commercial organisations involved in charitable promotions should state specifically what proportion of income will go to the charity.

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