Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Private Schools, Charity Law ... and the Hand of God?

According to the BBC private schools may lose their chariable status if they cannot show that they offer genuine benefits to wider society. Failing to establish that they are not "exclusive clubs" and failing to show that they are "outward looking and inclusive" will mean having to forgo the financial benefits and enhanced reputation that comes with recognition as a charity.

Mmmmmm .... By the same criteria I can think of lots of churches who should be looking over their shoulder lest the charity man come a knocking. Or is that the hand of God at the church door?

For the full BBC report see here.

5 comments:

tim f said...

I think this is part of an evolutionary process getting private schools with ridiculous facilities to share their facilities with nearby state schools, and then ratcheting up expectations to even up the score.

imo it'd be better to even up the score by ending the charitable status of private schools. The state actively funding inequality seems like a bad idea. If people have opted out of state-funded education, the state shouldn't reward them by funding their school £3,000 per pupil.

On the church issue, the idea of the state funding churches through gift aid makes me fundamentally uneasy as a Baptist. I kinda want the church to be more separate from the state than that. Mind you, I don't like the idea of gift aid at all - why should rich people get to claw money back from the state for their pet cause that could be spent by a government elected on a democratic mandate on schools and hospitals?

Dick Davies said...

On gift aid - surely it is the charity that claws back the money - we're not like the American model.

I love gift aid - it is one of the few tax concessions that really helps charities.

I'm happy (as a trustee of a large charity) that charitable status is being reviewed.

But I am looking over my shoulder - because pluralist agendas often seem to have too much weight at policymaking levels of government - and the charity I'm talking of exists to propagate Christianity - currently that is seen as charitable.

(Looks over shoulder)

tim f said...

Yes, technically it is the charity that claws the money back. But rich people who can afford to give the most get to decide where the money goes, whereas if the money is allocated by the state it is an elected government elected by one person one vote that decides. That seems fairer to me.

This is obviously a minority view, and I think I am the only person I know that leaves the giftaid box unticked on principle!

On whether propagating Christianity is charitable, most of the "charities" I give to are not in fact charities because they are deemed too "political", eg they speak out against government laws oppressing asylum seekers, etc. There is a bias that excludes many good causes which are also radical from receiving tax concessions. This exaggerates the extent to which giftaid supports the charities rich people like (eg those which have a Victorian conception of helping the deserving poor) as opposed to other charities (eg those which support the self-organisation of oppressed peoples).

Admittedly guidelines as to what constitutes a charity are very difficult to draw up. I wouldn't want the BNP to be able to claim giftaid, for example - and if groups calling for the abolition of immigration controls were able to it would be difficult to stop groups calling for the opposite. The impossibility of drawing up reasonable guidelines is imo just another reason why giftaid is unfair.

tim f said...

Yes, technically it is the charity that claws the money back. But rich people who can afford to give the most get to decide where the money goes, whereas if the money is allocated by the state it is an elected government elected by one person one vote that decides. That seems fairer to me.

This is obviously a minority view, and I think I am the only person I know that leaves the giftaid box unticked on principle!

On whether propagating Christianity is charitable, most of the "charities" I give to are not in fact charities because they are deemed too "political", eg they speak out against government laws oppressing asylum seekers, etc. There is a bias that excludes many good causes which are also radical from receiving tax concessions. This exaggerates the extent to which giftaid supports the charities rich people like (eg those which have a Victorian conception of helping the deserving poor) as opposed to other charities (eg those which support the self-organisation of oppressed peoples).

Admittedly guidelines as to what constitutes a charity are very difficult to draw up. I wouldn't want the BNP to be able to claim giftaid, for example - and if groups calling for the abolition of immigration controls were able to it would be difficult to stop groups calling for the opposite. The impossibility of drawing up reasonable guidelines is imo just another reason why giftaid is unfair.

privateschool said...

Popular private schools provide good facilities and give quality education so the cost of these schools is higher than the public schools. To make private schools affordable these schools need some fund. Therefore, private schools should be given fund to make education affordable.

http://www.teensprivateschools.com/schooltypes/Private-Schools/index.html