RNIB chair: Charity law needs overhaul

Kevin Carey calls for a new statutory definition of social gain

Charity law should be swept away and replaced with a new statutory definition of social gain, according to Kevin Carey, chair-elect of the RNIB.

Carey, who steps up to the role from vice-chair on 23 July, told Third Sector that the "legal superstructure" of charity law, in addition to company law, was unnecessary, heavy-handed and hindered charities.

"Who says charities should have extra controls in case we hoodwink the public when we have a long record of trustworthiness that far exceeds other sectors?" he asked. "Who says substantially paid charity commissioners should tell charities they can't pay trustees? Who says that unpaid trustees are the best way of running a charity with a turnover of £200m a year?"

There should be a common definition of charities as corporate bodies that did not distribute profits to shareholders and delivered statutorily defined social gain in exchange for tax privileges, said Carey.

Stronger reporting requirements would remove objections to charities being party political, he added.

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