BWB Highlights

BWB have partnered with NCVO to hold the Annual Trustee Conference, "Governance in the spotlight", on Monday 7th November. Hear from BWB's Philip Kirkpatrick and join over 400 trustees to improve your knowledge, learn new skills and get practical tools to help you govern for maximum impact. Click here for more information and to book your place.

At a glance

HMRC has published a museums and galleries tax relief consultation.

In the long running VAT case relating to the water sports club Longridge on Thames, the Court of Appeal has held that the charity was carrying out an “economic activity”and therefore could not treat supplies of building construction received as VAT zero rated.

The government has announced that it will be carrying out a full consultation on caste discrimination.

Charity Commission

Inquiry report

The Commission has published its inquiry report into the Global Aid Trust (1123560). Similar to the inquiry report published last week (Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (UK)), this case related to management of speakers at charity events. 

Blog – charities operating overseas

Nick Donaldson, the Commission’s Outreach Manager, has issued a blogpost in relation to charities working internationally, including those operating in high-risk areas.

Accruals accounts – guidance and templates

The Commission has published the following, to help non-company charities with incomes of less than £500,000 prepare their trustees’ annual report and accrual accounts in accordance with Charities SORP FRS 102:

Tax and VAT

HMRC has published a museums and galleries tax relief consultation.  The new relief, which was trailed in this year’s Budget, will be available on qualifying costs of both temporary and touring exhibitions.   The consultation closes on 28 October. 

In the long running VAT case relating to the water sports club Longridge on Thames, the Court of Appeal has overruled First Tier and Upper Tribunal rulings to find that the charity was carrying out an “economic activity”.  This means the charity could not treat supplies of building construction received as VAT zero rated. The background to the decision is that in order for a charity to be entitled to have a building constructed at the VAT zero rate it needs to be used for a "relevant charitable purpose" which the UK law defines as being used by a charity "otherwise than in the course or furtherance of a business".  Longridge took the view that given they charge very low fees and are heavily subsidised by grants, donations, and volunteer time then they are not operating in the course or furtherance of a business;  businesses are not subsidised in this way and their intention was not to run a business but to provide their activities as cheaply as possible. The lower and upper tribunals agreed.  Unfortunately the Court of Appeal has looked at the EU VAT law which defines "business" as being "economic activity" and concluded that a fee of any kind is business activity.  BWB’s Bill Lewis comments “Going forward, Brexit gives the government an opportunity to change the VAT zero rate.  The UK law could be changed after Brexit so the zero rate applies to buildings used by a charity for a "charitable purpose" without further definition.  Such a change should not impact on general EU VAT law as the VAT zero rates are a UK "concession" won when the UK joined the Common Market and as a consequence were obliged to take on board the European tax of VAT. At the moment the UK would probably need EU permission to make such a change; this permission is likely to be denied.”


Debate for a second EU referendum

Following the House of Commons debate for a second EU referendum on 5 September 2016, here is an extract from the government’s official response to the petition signed by over 4 million people:

“The European Union Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015, receiving overwhelming support from Parliament. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout…….The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.”

The full response, along with the transcript from the debate, can be accessed through this link.


This article by BWB Partner Simon Steeden was published last week to co-incide with the Parliamentary debate on the outcome of the EU referendum.


new practical handbook to fundraising governance will shortly be published by the Institute of Fundraising.  It has been developed in partnership with NCVO, CFG and ACEVO.   Delegates attending the “Trustees and Fundraising” conference on 10th October will receive a complimentary hard copy of the handbook.


See under Governance above.

Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator has published its August update.  

Legacy fundraising

Take 2 minutes to watch this brilliant new film from Aardman Animations created to launch Remember A Charity Week 2016.  

Social finance

The National Council of Nonprofits has published “Principles for Consideration of New Funding Mechanisms” – a guide to issues that must be considered before launching pay-for-success initiatives, social impact bonds, or other new funding mechanisms.

PRA policy statement on definition of credit unions

On 5 September 2016, the PRA published a policy statement on amendments to the definition of credit unions (PS23/16). In PS23/16, the PRA confirms that it will proceed with amendments to:

  • The Glossary of the PRA Rulebook to include a reference to the Credit Unions (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, so that the term "credit unions" is used to encompass Great Britain credit unions and Northern Ireland credit unions.
  • The Depositor Protection Part to insert a definition of "credit union".

Final phase of work on new FCA website completed

On 3 September 2016, the FCA published a press release announcing that the whole of its new website is now live.

House of Commons Library briefing paper on impact of Brexit across policy areas: financial services aspects

The House of Commons Library Brexit briefing paper published in August included, at section 3.6, material on the impact of Brexit on financial services. It considers:

  • Current issues arising from the referendum vote, including passporting and the implementation of EU legislation that has not yet come into effect.
  • Models for the UK's relationship with the EU after it leaves the EU, focusing particularly on the merits of the current relationship Switzerland has with the EU on financial services issues.
  • The views of the City of London on the UK's decision to leave the EU.

FCA publish call for input to the post-implementation review of the FCA’s crowdfunding rules

In this paper the FCA set out some of the recent developments across the crowdfunding sector and a number of concerns identified in response. This was published on 2 September and updated on 9 September.

Social impact

Want to take part in a survey about ‘UK impact awareness, attitudes and practice'? The closing date is September 19th. The results will be presented as part of a session on impact measurement/management at the Good Deals conference in mid-November, and in an article in Pioneers Post in January.

Social enterprise

See here for a list of CICs registered in August.  

See under Scotland below.


See here for the text of Teresa May’s announcements last week about education reform.

The Department for Education has published new statutory guidance on children missing education.


See this government press release about some of the first housing association tenants to become homeowners under the new Voluntary Right to Buy scheme.

Arts and culture

See under Tax and VAT above.


The government has announced that it will be carrying out a full consultation on caste discrimination. The consultation will seek views on whether additional measures are needed to ensure victims of caste discrimination have appropriate legal protection and effective remedies under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA).

Data protection

Last week, the Information Commissioner’s Office announced a series of large fines:

  • A marketing company has been fined £60,000 for making calls to numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service.  
  • A debt management company that sent unwanted marketing texts offering quick cash loans has been fined £40,000 by the ICO.


Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance MSP  hasannounced  Scotland’s “ first-ever international strategy for social enterprises”.

Northern Ireland

CCNI has published its first ever report into public trust and confidence in charities and has reported that almost 80% of people in Northern Ireland have a medium to high level of trust and confidence in charities. The full report and various summary documents are available on CCNI’s website.

Civil Society Media has reported that the Attorney General for Northern Ireland and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland were due to attend the Court of Appeal last week in a dispute over who can take an appeal to the Charity Tribunal for Northern Ireland.

The NI Department for Communities has published a consultation on the new proposals for the provision of strategic support to the Voluntary and Community Sector in Northern Ireland 2017-2021.

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Christine Rigby

Senior Consultant

+44(0)20 7551 7712

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Posted on 14/09/2016 in Legal Updates

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