SCVO: definition of 'charity' should be given more clarity

The SCVO has called for a more rigorous definition of 'charity' in Scotland's draft charities bill to ensure charitable status is open to groups like Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

As with the Westminster version, the Scottish bill published last week has an expanded list of charitable purposes and proposes a public-benefit test. But again there is no definition of public benefit.

SCVO chief executive Martin Sime said: "We need clarity on the position of government agencies and institutions of the privileged. Charity needs to do what it says on the tin - charity definitions must align with public understanding."

The umbrella body supports a requirement of "overriding public benefit" which it is thought would exclude the majority of fee-paying schools.

The Executive has said it is opposed to a definition of public benefit because of its inflexibility.

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