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Monday, December 22, 1997 Published at 17:25 GMT

UK: Politics

Scargill 'mismanaged' charities
image: [ Arthur Scargill transferred 800,000 without proper consultation, the Commission ruled ]
Arthur Scargill transferred 800,000 without proper consultation, the Commission ruled

The Charity Commission has found Arthur Scargill and another miners' leader guilty of misconduct and mismanagement of two welfare groups.

After a year-long investigation, it recommended the two men be removed from their positions as trustees of the Yorkshire Miners' Welfare Trust Fund Scheme and Yorkshire Miners' Welfare Convalescent Homes.

Complaints against the men centred on the transfer of 800,000 from the fund to the homes.

[ image: The NUM opposes
The NUM opposes "partnership-funded schemes"
There was no implication that either the President of the National Union of Mineworkers, Arthur Scargill, or his deputy, Frank Cave, had attempted to profit from their actions.

Mr Scargill said later that the union's lawyers had issued court proceedings against the Charity Commissioners and demanded that he and Mr Cave be reinstated as trustees. Both were suspended from the charities in June awaiting the investigation's findings.

"Government should pay for welfare groups"

The inquiry found the pair to have ignored the correct procedure for transferring funds and to have taken decisions without proper consultation.

Charity Commissioner Richard Fries said: "Almost all the assets of the Trust Fund had been made available to the Convalescent Homes in a meeting that wasn't properly constituted and we found it necessary to take this action to protect the charities and their assets."

The investigation began in January 1997 when the Commission received complaints from two British Coal-nominated trustees.

[ image: The two leaders must appeal against decision before January]
The two leaders must appeal against decision before January
Mr Scargill and Mr Cave moved the 800,000 to stop it being used in "partnership-funded schemes" introduced in 1995 when the coal industry was privatised.

The NUM has continued to oppose such schemes, saying the Government should meet the full cost of the miners' welfare projects.

In a statement, the Commission said it was "satisfied there has been misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charities and that it is necessary or desirable to remove Mr Scargill and Mr Cave from their trusteeship for the purpose of protecting the property of the charities".

Later, the NUM President said the case would be heard in the High Court in April. Mr Scargill added that the union's national executive and annual conference had pledged him their full support. He also condemned the "outrageous" decision to first suspend him and now remove as trustee.

Delegates at a meeting of the NUM's Yorkshire area council said the Charity Commissioners' action was another example in a "long line" of attacks on Mr Scargill.

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