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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 13:00 GMT
Charity reforms pass first hurdle
Collection boxes
There are more than 25,000 charities in Scotland
A committee of MSPs has backed the government's planned charity reforms.

Holyrood's communities committee welcomed the new Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill in a report it published on Wednesday.

However, the politicians also urged ministers to make some changes to ease its impact across the sector.

The legislation was unveiled last year and will bring in stricter controls for charities in the wake of a spate of scandals across the industry.

In their report, committee members welcomed a promise by the executive to counter fears that some of the country's major cultural institutions could lose millions under the proposed changes.

This bill brings the regulatory framework for the operation of charities and fundraising into the 21st Century
Karen Whitefield
Community Committee

State-funded bodies like the National Galleries of Scotland had feared they might lose their charitable status under the reforms which state that no third party can control a charity's activities.

However, the executive has pledged to make sure they keep their status so they do not lose the donations, grants or tax relief they received under the current charitable definitions.

The committee also said it wanted to ensure the regulatory burden would be appropriate under the new rules so charities operating UK-wide do not face dual regulation.

Growing role

Labour backbencher and committee convener Karen Whitefield said: "The charitable and voluntary sector plays a hugely important and growing role in Scottish society.

"This bill brings the regulatory framework for the operation of charities and fundraising into the 21st Century.

"It will ensure that charities operate for the public benefit under a transparent regulatory framework."

There are more than 25,000 charities north of the border which raise an estimated 250m a year between them.

Amongst other changes, the new rules are set to include a new definition of charity based on the principle of public benefit.




SEE ALSO:
Giving continues despite scandals
14 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Charity reform 'long overdue'
19 Oct 03 |  Scotland
Warning of more charity scandals
15 Oct 03 |  Scotland
MSP seeks charity changes
30 May 03 |  Scotland
Charity regulation 'not enough'
29 May 03 |  Scotland
Move to restore spirit of charity
11 Dec 03 |  Scotland


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