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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Pledge on charities watchdog
Charity box
A new regulator will be appointed
Scotland's minister with responsibility for charities has promised to appoint a regulator after one organisation's accounts were frozen.

Communities Minister Margaret Curran told the Scottish Parliament she shared public concern about the case of Breast Cancer Research Scotland (BCRS) and a regulator would be appointed "as early as possible".

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) would be responsible for the routine monitoring of charities and scrutinising their accounts.

However, opposition MSPs rounded on the minister for failing to say when changes would be implemented.

This has the potential of undermining charities in Scotland
Margaret Curran,
Communities Minister

At the Court of Session on Friday, a judge ordered that BCRS should be banned from calling itself a charity after he heard that 1.5m of the 13.2m it raised went to good causes.

Speaking on Wednesday, Ms Curran said: "I'm sure members are aware from the Press of the case of Breast Cancer Research Scotland.

"I share public concern that money that was donated for charitable purposes has not been used as would have been expected.

"This has the potential of undermining charities in Scotland."

The minister said she would not be rushed into bringing in new measures when careful consideration should be given to changes.

"But I do pledge to you, as the new minister with responsibility for charity law, that I will be looking carefully at the issues raised by this case as I develop proposals for the charity legislation to which we are committed."

However, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani described the setting up of the OSCR as "an interim fix" and said the executive had promised changes to charity law as far back as 1999.

The BBC's John Knox
"Opposition parties say the case comes as no surprise"

Charities watchdog call
27 May 03  |  Scotland
Cancer charity accounts frozen
23 May 03  |  Scotland
Charities regulator calls renewed
23 May 03  |  Scotland
Scots dig deep for charity
19 May 03  |  Scotland

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