Charities and the relief of poverty

The following Private Client practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Charities and the relief of poverty
  • Acceptable relief activities
  • Poverty and public benefit
  • Practical problems
  • Means testing
  • Interaction with state benefits
  • Perception

Charities and the relief of poverty

FORTHCOMING CHANGE: On 22 March 2021, the government published its response  to the Law Commission’s report of 14 September 2017, ‘Technical Issues in Charity Law’. The Report stemmed in part from Lord Hodgson’s review in July 2012 pursuant to section 73 of the Charities Act 2006 (ChaA 2006), ‘Trusted and Independent: Giving charity back to charities’. The Report made 43 recommendations, in 12 areas. The Response wholly or partially accepted 38 of the recommendations. For a commentary on the Response please see News Analysis: Government response to Law Commission report ‘Technical Issues in Charity Law’. It is worth bearing the proposals – and the Response – in mind when considering and advising on charity law in general. Of particular relevance to this Practice Note, the government accepted recommendations relating the ability to change the objects of a charity. It is therefore possible that the position set out below in relation to this subject, in particular, may be affected by any legislative changes made in due course.

These changes are being implemented by the Charities Bill, which had its first reading in the House of Lords on 26 May 2021. For analysis on the Charities Bill 2021, see News Analysis: Charities Bill 2021—easing charity administration and to follow the passage of the Bill through Parliament, see UK Parliament: Charities Bill [HL].

The relief of poverty is

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