HL Deb 17 November 2003 vol 654 c254WA
Lord Lea of Crondall

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the extent of the charitable commitments required for continued charitable status for public schools. [HL5513]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

To qualify for charitable status an organisation must be for the public benefit. The Government intend that the Charities Bill we are preparing should make this explicit. Charging fees for services or facilities does not by itself bring a charity's public benefit into doubt. In most cases fees do not in practice restrict people's access to those services or facilities. But if a charity's services are only accessible to people able to afford high fees, its public benefit may come into question. The Strategy Unit's recent review of charity law recommended that the Charity Commission, as regulator, should look into charities charging high fees—including, but not limited to, charitable independent schools—to ensure that they meet the public benefit requirement. The Government have endorsed this recommendation.