HC Deb 25 June 1974 vol 875 cc1352-4
Mr. Michael Morris

I beg to move Amendment No. 47, in page 11, line 37, at end insert or (c) is a housing association not a registered charity but which was founded by a registered charity other than an exempt charity and its rules or any agreement entered into in connection with its formation so state'. In the interests of the House, may I simply ask the Minister whether he is prepared to accept the amendment, or, if not, to comment upon it?

Mr. Freeson

It would have been a kindness if the hon. Member had been prepared to withdraw the amendment instead of asking me to comment on something he has not argued.

The position is that the scheme of registration in Part II is based upon the existing powers of control of the Charity Commission and of the Registry of Friendly Societies. These two existing systems of registration and control are supplemented by the additional powers of control conferred on the corporation in Part II.

The bodies which may be eligible for registration are accordingly limited in the clause to registered charities and Industrial and Provident Societies Act societies. Companies Act companies, such as are the Abbeyfield Societies, may be registered as housing associations only in so far as they are registered charities. The Charities Act 1960 does not apply to charities in Scotland, so there is a potential problem for Scottish Abbeyfield societies which wish to register in order to benefit from public loans and grants, confined by the Bill after the operative date to registered associations.

The solution proposed in this amendment is, however, unacceptable. It would add to the two broad classes of associations which may be registered, and which are subject to existing controls by the Charity Commission or the Registry of Friendly Societies, a third, subject to control by neither. Nor does the amendment provide for the application to such bodies of the corporation's powers of control in Part II. To accept the amendment would destroy the registration scheme. To amend the Bill further to apply controls to such a third category would require numerous complicated amendments for which there is neither time nor justification in relation to the problems which have emerged for organisations such as Abbeyfield. I hope that the explanation and comment I have given will satisfy the hon. Member.

Mr. Emery

May I say that we are not immensely happy about the position of the Abbeyfield societies. In certain areas they are doing a good job and as a charity they will need to be covered. I gather from what the Minister has said that he understands and is sympathetic towards that point of view. I hope that the Abbeyfield societies will argue their case with him and ensure that they are covered. As I see that that matter is accepted by a nod of assent from the Minister, I urge my hon. Friend to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Michael Morris

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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