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					                                       THE CHURCHES MAIN COMMITTEE


    The Rt Rev George Cassidy                                                                             Church House
    Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham                                                                Great Smith Street
    Chairman                                                                                                     London
                                                                                                             SW1P 3AZ
    Frank Cranmer                                                                                    Tel. 020 7222 1265
    Secretary                                                                                  Email: cmc@c-of-e.org.uk
                                                                                                     www.cmainc.org.uk




                                            CMC CIRCULAR
                                               2007/09
CHARITIES AND CHARITY LAW ........................................................................................ 3

        Charity accounts: independent examination ................................................................. 3
        Charity Commission: response to Government review on terrorist abuse .................... 4
        Charities in English and Scots law ............................................................................... 5
         The difference ........................................................................................................... 5
         Governing documents ............................................................................................... 6

EMPLOYMENT..................................................................................................................... 8

        Employment guide for faith-based charities.................................................................. 8
        Health and safety: corporate liability ............................................................................ 8
         Regina v P Ltd and Another [2007] The Times 13 August EWCA Crim ..................... 8

FAITH AND SOCIETY .......................................................................................................... 9

        Racial and religious hatred........................................................................................... 9
        Social evils ................................................................................................................... 9

FUNDING ........................................................................................................................... 10

        Charity funding: NAO report ....................................................................................... 10
        Community Assets consultation: OTS response ........................................................ 11
        Gambling Act 2005: commencement ......................................................................... 11
        Social enterprise risk capital investment fund............................................................. 12

ODDS AND ENDS .............................................................................................................. 13

        Child safety ................................................................................................................ 13
        ID cards – the procurement process begins ............................................................... 14

PROPERTY, PLANNING, THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE .................................... 15

        Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme .................................................................... 15
        Planning and renewable energy ................................................................................. 15



   The body with Christian and Jewish representation which communicates with the Government on
                                    proposals for legislation, etc
                                      Reg Charity No. 256303
Churches Main Committee                                                                                            Circular 2007/09


          Refuse collection........................................................................................................ 16
          Transfer of Planning Appeals to Inspectorate............................................................. 16
          Water-metering to become an option in areas of water stress .................................... 17

  TAXATION ......................................................................................................................... 18

          VAT: home computers made available by employers ................................................. 18




                                                                  -2-
Churches Main Committee                                                          Circular 2007/09


  CHARITIES AND CHARITY LAW
  Charity accounts: independent examination

  A large number of religious charities use independent examiners to verify their annual
  accounts because their assets and income are not large enough to trigger the requirement
  for formal audit. The Charity Commission has recently published draft Directions for
  independent examiners on the conduct of examinations of charity accounts, together with
  associated guidance. The associated guidance is in two parts: the guidance interpreting
  each Direction and the appendices.

  The revised Directions and guidance expand upon the original guidance issued in 1993,
  Independent Examination of Charity Accounts: directions and guidance, reflecting the
  broadening of independent examination to small company charities and the new statutory
  duty to report certain „matters of material significance‟ to the Commission. Changes to
  charity and company law, following the Charities Act 2006 and the Companies Act 2006, will
  also mean that the independent examination regime will apply equally to both small
  company and non-company charities.

  During the passage of the Charities Act 2006, a commitment was given that all the financial
  thresholds would be subject to a further review within 12 months of the passage of the Act.
  The intention is to review and reduce, where possible and appropriate, the regulatory
  burdens upon charities. It is proposed to include the lower and upper thresholds for
  independent examination in this review. The income threshold above which an independent
  examination is required is currently £10,000 and was last reviewed in 1995. The upper
  threshold for independent examination, above which an audit is required is £500,000 gross
  income and was last changed on 27 February 2007 following the Charities Act 2006. Any
  changes in thresholds, including thresholds for independent examination, will be subject to a
  separate consultation exercise.

  Following are the questions on which the Commission is seeking views:

        Do the draft Directions reflect the minimum changes necessary to enable the
         independent examination of small company charities?

        Does the guidance associated with each Direction clearly explain what is required in
         terms that a non-accountant with the requisite skills and experience can readily
         understand?

        Is the guidance on the selection of examiners sufficiently clear?

        Is the new statutory duty to report matters of material significance to the Commission
         clearly explained and reasonably interpreted?

        Are the appendices sufficiently comprehensive in providing the information an
         independent examiner needs?



                                               -3-
Churches Main Committee                                                           Circular 2007/09


        In particular, does Appendix 4 provide a sufficient coverage of independent
         examiner‟s reports?

        Is Appendix 5 helpful in explaining when matters should be reported to the
         Commission and is the additional guidance on each area tested clear and helpful?

        Is the greater expectation of independent examiners who are members of a
         designated body, set out in Appendix 5, fair and reasonable?

        Overall, is there any matter that is omitted which should be included, or is there any
         matter included which would best be removed?

        The Commission intends to issue the final guidance via the publications web page. Is
         it necessary to make hard copies available?

  Responses are requested by Friday 16 November 2007 and can be made by e-mail to
  john.kerry@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk, by completing an on-line questionnaire, or to
  John Kerry, Charity Commission, Woodfield House, Tangier, TAUNTON, Somerset TA1
  4BL.

  Introduction: http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/enhancingcharities/cc63consintro.asp

  Consultation document: http://www.charity-
  commission.gov.uk/enhancingcharities/cc63cons.asp

  [Source: Charity Commission Consultations – 17 August 2007]

  Charity Commission: response to Government review on terrorist abuse

  The Charity Commission has published its response to the Home Office/HM Treasury
  Review on protecting the sector from terrorist abuse. Overall, the Commission feels that
  accountable and transparent governance, strong financial management and effective risk
  management policies and procedures are the key factors in charities' ability to protect
  themselves from terrorist exploitation. The main points are as follows:

        while terrorist involvement with charities is completely unacceptable, its actual
         incidence is extremely rare – the response must be proportionate to the scale and
         seriousness of the threat;

        the independent regulator is an essential and trusted partner, alongside Government
         and the charity sector itself, in protecting charities from terrorist abuse;

        support and guidance for charities to avoid problems arising in the first place is a key
         part of the Commission‟s regulatory strategy;

        the Commission will act swiftly and decisively where deliberate wrongdoing,
         criminality and abuse, including terrorist abuse, takes place.




                                               -4-
Churches Main Committee                                                             Circular 2007/09


  [Source: Charity Commission News – 1 August 2007]

  Report: http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/supportingcharities/terror.asp

  Charities in English and Scots law

  The difference

  The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”) established a
  new charity test for charities in Scotland. This test is set out in section 7 of the 2005 Act and
  is the test which OSCR, as the charity regulator, must apply in making decisions on whether
  an organisation may or may not appear in the Scottish Charity Register (“the Register”). The
  test has four main elements:

        A body must have only charitable purposes – the charitable purposes listed in
         section 7.

        The constitution of the body must not allow its property to be used for non-
         charitable purposes; must not contain in its constitution express power of direction or
         control by Ministers; must not be a political party or have as its purpose to advance a
         political party.

        It must provide public benefit in Scotland or elsewhere. In determining whether a
         body does so, OSCR must have regard to how the benefit to the public compares to
         any private benefit or any disbenefit that may result from the activities of the
         particular body.

        OSCR must have regard to whether there are unduly restrictive conditions on
         obtaining the benefit the body provides.

  The Briefing Note clarifies the basis for this legal provision, and in particular, clarifies the
  position of OSCR in relation to the definition of the terms „charitable‟ or „charitable purpose‟
  in a body‟s constitution. The Note points out that the „charitable purposes‟ for which the
  property of Scottish charities may be applied are the charitable purposes in section 7(2) of
  the 2005 Act. The charitable purposes in Scots law are – although very similar – not identical
  to those in English law. Equally, though the OSCR states that there is no requirement to
  include a clause defining the meaning of these terms in the constitution of a Scottish charity
  (since, in the absence of such a definition or interpretation clause, these terms will be
  interpreted according to their meaning in the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland)
  Act 2005), where an existing charity or applicant has chosen to include a definition or
  interpretation clause in relation to the terms „charitable‟ or „charitable purpose‟, OSCR needs
  to ensure that these terms are defined in a manner which is consistent with the 2005 Act.

  The definition issue has affected English and Welsh charities seeking to be entered in the
  Register. OSCR has produced guidance for English and Welsh charities in order to clarify
  this position and the Charity Commission is also to produce guidance for England and Wales
  charities in this issue.



                                                -5-
Churches Main Committee                                                           Circular 2007/09


  Governing documents

  A charity in England and Wales that wishes to refer to itself as a charity and which occupies
  any land or premises in Scotland or carries out activities in any office, shop or similar
  premises in Scotland needs to apply for registration as a charity with OSCR. If the charity‟s
  objects are charitable under section 7 of the 2005 Act and the charity cannot distribute or
  apply any of its property for purposes which are not charitable under section 7, then it meets
  the Scottish charity test and will be entered on the Scottish Charity Register.

  The governing documents of charities established under English law are interpreted
  according to that law. However, the terms “charitable” or “charitable purposes” do not have
  precisely the same meaning under the 2005 Act in Scotland as they do under the Charities
  Act 2006 in England and Wales. The effect of the difference between English and Scots law
  is that where an England and Wales charity‟s governing document makes reference to
  “charitable” or “other charitable purposes” in its objects and/or dissolution clause, it is not
  clear that the organisation can only use its assets for purposes which are exclusively
  charitable in accordance with the 2005 Act. This means that it will fail the Scottish charity
  test.

  England and Wales charities that have applied for registration with OSCR and have been
  asked to make an amendment to their governing documents before they can be registered
  will generally need to contact the Commission. In most cases, an amendment to a charity‟s
  purposes or objects can only be made with the Charity Commission‟s consent. Often an
  amendment to a dissolution clause will also need the consent of the Commission and/or a
  parent body.

  The Commission has now agreed a standard form of wording with OSCR that if incorporated
  into a charity‟s governing document will enable charities registered in England and Wales to
  meet the Scottish charity test as follows:


        (a) Where a charity is established in E & W and undertakes significant activities in
        Scotland and its objects clause makes reference to “charitable” or “other charitable
        purposes”, this form of wording will be suitable for use as an interpretation clause for
        the governing document:

        Throughout this [insert type of GD e.g. Trust Deed], “charitable” means charitable
        in accordance with the law of England and Wales provided that it will not
        include any purpose which is not charitable in accordance with section 7 of the
        Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. For the avoidance of
        doubt, the system of law governing the constitution of the charity is the law of
        England and Wales.

        (b) This clause is intended to be used where the objects clause is acceptable as
        charitable both in E & W and in Scotland but the charity does not meet the distribution




                                               -6-
Churches Main Committee                                                         Circular 2007/09


        test (i.e. its dissolution clause makes reference to “charitable” or “other charitable
        purposes”) in section 7 of the 2005 Act:

        Nothing in this [insert type of GD e.g. trust deed] shall authorise an application of
        the property of the charity for purposes which are not charitable in accordance
        with section 7 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.

  The Commission believes that this revised wording is clearer and more effective than that
  originally proposed. Some charity legal advisers may wish to draft their own wording
  appropriate to the circumstances described above – but any wording drafted must be
  approved by the Commission and the OSCR before it can be used to amend a charity’s
  governing document.

  [Source: OSCR News – 3 August 2007: Charity Commission What‟s New – 15 August 2007]

  Link to OSCR Briefing Note: http://www.oscr.org.uk/PublicationItem.aspx?ID=ddf17ce5-
  eb98-4b5f-8b69-5d83b5dac288

  Full text of note on governing documents: http://www.charity-
  commission.gov.uk/supportingcharities/oscrguide2.asp




                                              -7-
Churches Main Committee                                                           Circular 2007/09


  EMPLOYMENT
  Employment guide for faith-based charities

  The Church of England‟s Church Urban Fund has launched a free online resource, Just
  Employment, to promote excellence in employment by faith-based charities involved in
  social and community projects. The guide contains advice and case studies about the
  specific issues faced by faith-groups, such as whether discrimination laws prevent them from
  excluding people who are not of their particular faith and what to do about employees whose
  values clash with an organisation‟s ethos.

  The guide also includes sections that are applicable to any community group, covering such
  areas as policies and procedures on health and safety issues, disciplinary and grievance
  procedures, performance management, work-life balance and child protection laws. The
  documents, which will be updated annually, were put together by an employment specialist.
  The contract to produce the resource will run until 2010.

  In order to access Just Employment, potential users must register via the following link:
  http://www.cufx.org.uk/.

  [Source: Third Sector Online – 16 August 2007]

  Link to CUF press release: http://www.cuf.org.uk/justemploymentpr.aspx

  Health and safety: corporate liability

  Regina v P Ltd and Another [2007] The Times 13 August EWCA Crim

  The Times reports that the Court of Appeal [Latham LJ, Pitchford and Royce JJ] has held
  that an officer of a body corporate that contravened health and safety legislation committed
  an offence if he either knew of the relevant facts giving rise to the offence or, if he did not
  know, should by reason of the circumstances have inquired as to whether or not the relevant
  safety procedures were in place. The Court allowed an appeal brought by the Health and
  Safety Executive against a preliminary ruling by HHJ Waller at Croydon Crown Court that an
  offence under s 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 required subjective
  knowledge of the material facts by the officer concerned.

  [Source: The Times – 13 August 2007]




                                               -8-
Churches Main Committee                                                             Circular 2007/09


  FAITH AND SOCIETY
  Racial and religious hatred

  The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 (Commencement No 1) Order 2007 (SI 2007 /
  2490) was made on 24 August and will come into force on 1 October. The Order brings the
  Act into operation with the exception of the following insertions made by the Schedule into
  the Public Order Act 1986:

        section 29B(3) (power to arrest without warrant a person suspected of using
         threatening words or behaviour or of displaying threatening written material);

        section 29H(2) (power of courts in Scotland to authorise entry and search); and

        section 29I(2)(b) and (4) (power of courts in Scotland to order forfeiture).

  [Source: OPSI – 24 August 2007]

  Social evils

  The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is conducting a research project to seek to identify what
  people regard as the „social evils‟ in modern-day society. The Rowntree researchers are
  inviting people to fill in a very short on-line questionnaire, available at
  http://www.socialevils.org.uk/.




                                                -9-
Churches Main Committee                                                          Circular 2007/09


  FUNDING
  Charity funding: NAO report

  The National Audit Office has published a report on the funding relationships of twelve of the
  largest UK charities, who together receive £742 million in public funding from a range of
  public bodies including central government departments, agencies, local authorities and
  NHS primary care trusts, and operate across a range of activities including care for disabled
  people, children‟s services, advice and volunteering. The report concludes that charities'
  funding relationships with public bodies can often be highly fragmented, with many public
  bodies providing several streams of funding in small amounts to a single charity.

  The twelve case-studies examined by the NAO had between 95 and more than 4,000
  separate funding relationships with public bodies. On average, the charities estimated that
  they spent around £400,000 annually on managing these relationships, although the total
  costs may well be higher. The evidence suggests that the delivery of public services by the
  voluntary sector could be undermined and limited by the complexity of the arrangements
  under which they receive public funding. In addition, the variations between funders in the
  timing, payment terms and monitoring requirements can impose unnecessary transaction
  costs on charities, reducing their value-for-money for the taxpayer.

  The report also found that, from the experience of these charities, both central and local
  government bodies use poor funding practices. However, the problems were more visible at
  local level because large charities have many more separate funding relationships with local
  authorities than they do with government departments. The charities told the NAO that local
  government does not know enough about central government commitments to better funding
  practices. The report concludes that complex funding structures can sometimes deter
  charities from bidding for public funds and prevent them from influencing the design of
  services.

  The Office of the Third Sector (OTS) and the Treasury have begun work to address many of
  the issues highlighted in the report. The OTS is implementing a cross-government action
  plan on partnership with the third sector and the Cabinet Office and Treasury have jointly
  published a review of the sector's role as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007.
  But, according to the NAO, more needs to be done. The OTS and the Treasury should bring
  the issues raised in the report to the attention of departments and other bodies to help them
  ensure that their commissioning frameworks reflect the principles set out in the cross-
  government action plan. Departments' actions should focus particularly on local
  implementation, and plans should include an assessment of the transaction costs borne by
  charities involved in public funding processes.

  [Source: NAO Press Notice – 8 August 2007]

  Report: http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/nao_reports/06-07/charity_funding.pdf




                                              - 10 -
Churches Main Committee                                                          Circular 2007/09


  Community Assets consultation: OTS response

  The Office of the Third Sector has published a response to its consultation on the
  Community Assets fund. The aim of the Community Assets programme is to empower
  communities by offering grants for the refurbishment of under-used local authority buildings,
  ensuring that they are appropriate for transfer to the third sector. The consultation ended on
  23 June 2007.

  Local authorities, agencies and third sector organisations – from large national bodies to
  small community groups – responded to the consultation. They expressed a range of
  opinions on how the fund should work, including views about whom it should benefit, how it
  should be distributed, and which assets should be eligible. The Community Assets fund was
  widely welcomed.

  Most of the respondents called for the fund to be flexibly managed in order to make it
  sensitive to local needs and circumstances. To take this into account, the Office of the Third
  Sector has decided to have a broad grant range. When considering which assets will be
  eligible for the scheme, the focus will be on the benefit of the transfer to the community.

  The consultation responses have been shared with the Big Lottery Fund, who will use them
  to ensure the successful delivery of the programme. The Big Lottery Fund is also writing to
  all local authorities to invite them and their third sector partners to apply to Community
  Assets and will run a series of regional events in early September, which local authorities
  and their partners are invited to attend. Third sector organisations with projects to take
  forward should talk to their local authority partner about attending a seminar jointly.

  [Source: Office of the Third Sector News – 9 August 2007]

  Document:
  http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/documents/consultations/community_assets_fu
  nd.pdf

  Gambling Act 2005: commencement

  The Gambling Act 2005 came into force on 1 September 2007.

  Under the terms of the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976, certain lotteries were exempt
  from tax where the profits accrued to a charity. The Gambling Act 2005 repealed that
  provision; and HMRC announced in BN 44 – Charitable Lottery Tax Relief: Gambling Act
  2005 Consequentials that legislation would be introduced in Finance Bill 2007 to ensure that
  charities continued to benefit from the existing relief from tax on the profits from certain
  lotteries in the new regulatory framework. The necessary amendments were duly made in
  Schedule 25 to FA 2007; however, the 2005 Act also brings in a new licensing regime for
  some large lotteries and, where that licensing regime applies, relief will not be given for
  lotteries unless they have the required licence.

  [Source: DCMS News – 30 August 2007]




                                              - 11 -
Churches Main Committee                                                             Circular 2007/09


  Social enterprise risk capital investment fund

  The Cabinet Office has begun a consultation on the working of a new £10 million risk capital
  investment fund for social enterprises that was announced as part of its Social Enterprise
  Action Plan. Many social enterprises find it difficult to access risk capital; and this can leave
  a gap in their finances particularly when they are at the critical stage of development
  between starting up and growing their business. The risk capital investment fund will fill this
  gap and help develop better access to private and independent investment in the future.

  The Government has published proposals for operating the fund and wants the views of
  stakeholders before making the final decisions. The proposals are to establish a „pathfinder
  investment scheme‟ where the Government's £10 million investment will be matched by a
  further £10 million investment from the private and independent sectors. The Government
  would appoint an independent fund manager and expect to make the same return on
  investments as independent investors.

  Responses to the consultation are requested before Friday 2 November 2007 either by e-
  mail to riskcapital@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk or in writing to: Justine da Palma Vieira, Office
  of the Third Sector, 2nd Floor, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BQ.

  [Source: Cabinet Office Third Sector News – 10 August 2007]

  Consultation document:
  http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/documents/consultations/consultation_risk_capit
  al.pdf




                                                - 12 -
Churches Main Committee                                                          Circular 2007/09




  ODDS AND ENDS
  Child safety

  The Department for Children, Schools and Families is consulting on its strategy for the
  safety of children and young people: Staying Safe. The Department has identified five areas
  where it feels that more could be done to help children and young people to stay safe:

        play, and taking part in positive activities – to help children and young people learn
         about taking risks in a safe environment;

        understanding and managing risk – to help both parents and children and young
         people themselves understand how to keep children safe;

        a safe workforce – making further improvements to systems so that employers,
         including parents, can make sure people who apply to work with children are safe to
         do so;

        addressing new threats to children‟s safety – particularly helping parents to
         understand how they can keep their children safe on-line or when using mobile
         phones; and

        helping the new statutory Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) (which
         coordinate work to keep children safe carried out by police, health services, social
         care and education) to make a difference.

  The Government‟s proposals include:

        promoting safer recruitment practices in all sectors where work with children and
         young people is involved and extending guidance recently issued for schools and
         colleges to other settings – including, no doubt, churches;

        implementing the new vetting and barring scheme, including the new Independent
         Safeguarding Authority, to help ensure that unsuitable people cannot work with
         children; and

        publishing a best practice guide for LCSBs to highlight examples of good local
         practice.

  To respond to the consultation, visit www.ecm.gov.uk/stayingsafe                  or   email
  staying.safe@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk The consultation runs until 31 October 2007.

  [Source: DCSF News – 18 July 2007]

  Link: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/conDetails.cfm?consultationId=1500




                                              - 13 -
Churches Main Committee                                                         Circular 2007/09


  ID cards – the procurement process begins

  The Home Office has announced that it has started the procurement process for the
  proposed national ID card programme, with publication of a notice in the Official Journal of
  the European Union inviting potential suppliers to make tender inquiries.

  [Source: Home Office News – 9 August 2007]




                                             - 14 -
Churches Main Committee                                                          Circular 2007/09


  PROPERTY, PLANNING, THE ENVIRONMENT AND
  HERITAGE
  Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme

  The DCMS has released figures for the operation of the Listed Places of Worship Grant
  Scheme since its inception.

  Payments made by Country between 1 April 2001 and 31 July 2007

                    England                    £50,065,345
                    Northern Ireland           £3,054,244
                    Scotland                   £6,093,487
                    Wales                      £3,079,051
                    Total                      £62,292,127

  Payments made in England between 1 April 2001 and 31 July 2007

  From        To         Amount              Applications Made        Applications
                                                                      Paid
  01.04.01    31.3.02        £931,452.45      1367                    448
  01.04.02    31.3.03     £ 6,151,626.65      2317                    2575
  01.04.03    31.3.04     £ 6,735,375.81      2183                    2827
  01.04.04    31.3.05     £ 8,340,715.47      4274                    2943
  01.04.05    31.3.06    £12,498,019.39       1055 (to 30.6.05)       3,334
  01.04.06    31.3.07    £11,641,861.08                n/a            3,359
  April 07                  £921,678.40                n/a            259
  May 07                    £806,093.35                n/a            279
  June 07                   £ 944,552,65               n/a            224
  July 07                £ 1,093,969.88                n/a            254
  Total                  £50,065,345.13      11,196 to 30.6.05        16,502

  [Source: DCMS – 6 August 2007]

  Planning and renewable energy

  At present businesses must go through the planning system when, for example, they want to
  install a solar panel or a small wind turbine. A planning application can cost about £1,500
  and take up to eight to sixteen weeks to be considered by councils, with no guarantee it will
  be approved. Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has announced that Entec – an
  environmental and planning consultancy – has been asked to draw up new planning rules
  that will ensure the planning system does more to encourage the use of renewable energy.
  The research will specifically look at removing barriers to installing small-scale renewable
  and low carbon technology equipment that can currently lead to increased costs and lengthy
  delays.

  Blears has specifically asked Entec to investigate how renewable energy equipment can be
  included as „permitted development‟, so that it can be erected without the need for specific



                                              - 15 -
Churches Main Committee                                                            Circular 2007/09


  planning permission as long as there is clearly no impact on others or the local environment.
  The research will also consider what safeguards will need to be in place for circumstances
  where the benefit of the technology is clearly questionable and outweighed by its impact on
  the local environment.

  The Government has also commissioned White Young Green Planning (WYGP) to carry out
  a wider investigation into what planning reforms are needed to make it easier for businesses
  to build extensions or make improvements to their premises. The research will consider
  whether the need for planning permission can be removed for minor developments – such
  as small-scale extensions and changes to shop fronts – where it is clear that they have little
  or no impact on neighbouring properties or the local environment. WYGP will also set out
  how local authorities should retain the right to restrict planning permission with strengthened
  safeguards to deal specifically with eyesore developments.

  [Source – DCLG News Release 13 August 2007]

  Refuse collection

  Third Sector Online reports that Defra is to write to every local authority chief executive to
  remind them not to charge charity shops for disposing of unwanted donations. We are aware
  that some churches have experienced similar problems in relation to refuse collection and
  disposal from church halls and similar premises.

  The Environmental Protection Act 1990 defines the refuse produced by such institutions as
  household waste, which means they can be charged only for its collection. But the
  Association of Charity Shops has estimated that more than a hundred waste-collection
  authorities in England – just under one in four – are or might be overcharging. Earlier this
  year, five Somerset district and borough councils were found to be incorrectly charging
  institutions such as charities, schools and hospitals for waste disposal as well as for
  collection. A Defra spokeswoman said: „The majority of councils are doing things properly,
  but officials have found in conversations that some others might be doing a similar thing to
  those Somerset councils‟. Hopefully, Defra‟s initiative will bring errant local authorities into
  line.

  [Source: Third Sector Online – 29 August 2007]

  Transfer of Planning Appeals to Inspectorate

  DCLG has announced a consultation on proposals to enable most types of planning and
  enforcement appeals to be determined by Inspectors, except where the circumstances of
  any individual case justified its recovery for the Secretary of State‟s own determination
  following consideration of an Inspector‟s report. The document is only available on-line.




                                               - 16 -
Churches Main Committee                                                            Circular 2007/09


  The deadline for responses is 5 November, by e-mail to pcc@communities.gsi.gov.uk or by
  post to: Transfer of Appeals Consultation, PCC Division, Communities and Local
  Government, Zone 3/J1, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU.

  We do not see any particular problems for faith-communities with this proposal. Rarely, if
  ever, would a planning application by a religious organisation be big enough to warrant call-
  in; and if it were subject to call-in on the grounds that it was to take place in a particularly
  sensitive area then, whatever the theoretical responsibilities of the Secretary of State, it
  would be decided after painstaking negotiations with the amenity societies, English
  Heritage/Historic Scotland/CADW. However, if members have any particular concerns, we
  shall respond to the consultation on their behalf.

  [Source: DCLG Consultations – 13 August 2007]

  Consultation document:
  http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/transferplanningappeals

  Water-metering to become an option in areas of water stress

  Environment Minister Phil Woolas has announced that water companies in areas of serious
  water stress will be able to seek compulsory water metering as part of their 25-year forward
  plans. The proposal, developed by the Water Saving Group, would add metering to the
  existing options for companies – alongside developing new resources – for ensuring long-
  term security of supply. The announcement follows consultation with companies, regulators,
  charities and members of the public. The Environment Agency is also publishing its
  response to a parallel consultation on defining areas of water stress.

  Woolas stressed, however, that “This is not a green light for universal metering, and it in no
  way absolves companies from their responsibility to deliver on leakage targets. Water
  companies will have to make a strong case in their 25-year forward plans for compulsory
  metering in their region to get approval to go ahead, demonstrating that metering offers the
  best value for water customers‟ money compared with the other options available, such as
  building new reservoirs. They will have to take into account the impacts on individual
  customers and particularly on vulnerable households. Their draft plans will be open to public
  consultation, so everyone in an affected area will have the chance to make their views
  known”.

  Inclusion of metering in long-term management plans will come into effect after the price
  review in 2009. Draft plans will be consulted upon in 2008 and finalised in 2009. Ministers
  can require public hearings on the draft plans, and can direct changes before they are
  published in final form

  [Source: Defra News Release – 16 August 2007]




                                               - 17 -
Churches Main Committee                                                          Circular 2007/09


  TAXATION
  VAT: home computers made available by employers

  In April 1999 the Government introduced a direct tax exemption that enabled employers to
  loan a computer to their employees tax-free. The objective was to help increase access to
  computers and help employees increase their IT literacy skills. In January 2004 the
  Government launched the Home Computer Initiative (HCI) which encouraged employers and
  employees to take advantage of the exemption and sought to make it as straightforward as
  possible for employers to lend computer equipment to their employees. At that time the HM
  Customs and Excise considered that, while there would undoubtedly be some private use of
  the computer, there would be wider benefits to the business and so the VAT treatment
  should mirror the approach taken for direct tax. Consequently, as long as there was some
  business use, any VAT incurred could be deducted in full without any adjustment for private
  use.

  Following a review of the HCI, the direct tax exemption was withdrawn with effect from 6
  April 2006. Consequently, HMRC has now reviewed the VAT position and HMRC’s policy to
  allow full VAT recovery without any adjustment for private use, in circumstances where there
  is any business use, is withdrawn forthwith.

  With immediate effect, businesses must consider why the computer is being provided to the
  employee in order to determine the level of VAT that can be claimed. Businesses will only be
  able to claim full VAT recovery without any requirement to account for VAT on any private
  use (subject to any restriction in respect of exempt supplies) where the provision of a
  computer is necessary for the employee to carry out the duties of his employment. In these
  circumstances HMRC‟s view is that it is unlikely that any private use will be significant when
  compared with the business need for providing the computer in the first place. This mirrors
  the approach taken for direct tax concerning exemptions for work-related benefits in kind
  where there is no significant private use.

  Where a business cannot demonstrate that it is necessary to provide an employee with a
  computer in order to carry out the duties of his employment then only a portion of the VAT
  incurred will be recoverable as input tax. HMRC will accept any method of apportioning the
  VAT incurred, so long as the result fairly and reasonably reflects the extent of business use.
  In order to minimise administrative burdens, businesses may be able to agree a set
  percentage with HMRC based on a representative period.

  Where a business continues to provide a computer under an existing HCI agreement full
  VAT recovery can continue until the agreement (normally 3 years) has expired. Because it is
  a basic principle of the VAT system that VAT can only be recovered as input tax where the
  supply is to the taxable person or business, in circumstances where the supply of the
  computer is to the employee the business cannot recover the VAT incurred on that supply as
  input tax.

  [Source: HMRC What’s New – 13 August 2007]


                                              - 18 -
Churches Main Committee                                   Circular 2007/09


  Link: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/briefs/vat/brief5507.htm




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