A recent research study into the trust and confidence in the Charity Commission conducted by Populus has found that the public is in favour of charities contributing to the costs of regulation by the Charity Commission.
The results of the research, which included 1,001 members of the public and 1,129 trustees and senior charity staff, showed that 56% of the public favour funding for the Charity Commission by means of a mixture of public funding and a levy imposed upon charities. 68% of the charities surveyed believed that regulation should be funded entirely through general taxation, a view shared by only 25% of the public.
At present, the Charity Commission is funded wholly by the government and has, over the years, seen its budget cut from £31.7m in 2007-08 to £21.4m this year.
Baroness Pitkeathley, a Labour peer, speaking at the House of Lords debate on the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill suggested that the Charity Commission should consider charging fees to charities with incomes of more than £1m. Baroness Pitkeathley said that there was concern that the government was unlikely to increase the Commission's funding and therefore wanted ministers to look at alternative sources of funding.
The chairman of the Charity Commission, William Shawcross, said that the results showed that a majority of the public would like to see the charities make a contribution to their own regulation. He added that the regulator had a duty to explore options for charging and that it must look into all the options for placing the Commission's funding on a more secure footing.