Organisations which spend more on campaigning than field work shouldn’t be charities, MP says

Organisations which spend the majority of their funds on campaigning should not have charitable status, a member of a House of Commons committee proposed today during an evidence session on the work of the Charity Commission.

During the session Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said the regulator was reviewing its guidance on think tanks and had had a round table to consider where the boundaries should lie.

He said one thing which had emerged is that “the current guidance, CC9, is about right,” but that the Charity Commission needed to be clearer on the boundary between campaigning in support of a charitable aim, and having a political purpose.

In response Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, questioned whether charities should be allowed to spend as much on campaigning as they currently do.

“Surely one way of squaring that circle is that if the majority of activities a charity does are on the ground making a difference in people’s lives, it should be regarded as charity,” Halfon said. “But if the majority of activities are just in terms of campaigning, that should be regarded as a pressure group.”

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