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Conservatives welcome aspects of Charities Bill

The Conservative leadership has welcomed the Government's decision to maintain the special tax status of Britain's private schools and hospitals.

Fears had grown that publication of the Charities Bill would signal a crackdown on the special charitable status of the institutions, said to be worth around 100 million a year. However, in the event, the new legislation stops short of stripping private schools and independent hospitals of their charitable status and accompanying tax breaks.

The decision was welcomed by Shadow Home Affairs Minister Jacqui Lait, who declared: "We welcome the publication of the Charities Bill today. The charitable and voluntary sector have campaigned long and hard for these measures and they will be reassured that the Bill has finally begun its Parliamentary progress."

She told "We are pleased that the Government recognises the public benefit of charitable schools and hospitals, and that this Bill will be no threat to their continued existence. However, we will be scrutinising the legislation closely to see what changes have been made by the Government following the report of the Joint Commons and Lords Committee on the draft published earlier this year."

Lait, Jacqui

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