WRAP has registered as a charity, a move that its chief executive said has marked “a clear line in the sand”.
The Charity Commission has approved the organisation’s application to obtain charitable status, which was put forward in the summer.
WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin described the event as a “landmark moment”.
She said that the status will give the organisation he opportunity to explore other funding opportunities, such as from trusts, foundations and corporate responsibility schemes
Defra cut WRAP’s funding from £25.7m in 2013-14 to £15.5m for 2015-16. The Scottish Government is currently WRAP’s biggest funder, at £26m in 2013-14. The Northern Ireland Assembly and Welsh Government provide £3.4m and £3.2m, respectively.
Other advantages of being a charity include exemptions from certain income or corporation tax, capital gains tax, stamp duty and inheritance tax on bequests.
Charities also pay only up to 20% of business rates on occupied buildings and can get special VAT treatment. They are barred from anything judged by the commission to constitute political campaigning.
Goodwin said the move will also help provide clarity on WRAP’s role as a separate entity from Government.
“I admit our identity has been at times hard to quantify,” said Goodwin. “We value very much our role and work with governments - and long may it continue. But we are not part of government, so becoming a registered charity marks a clear line in the sand.”
Goodwin said the new status reflected the nature of the organisation. “After all, our vision is based on the foundations that we are trying to make the world a better place for future generations, by ensuring resources are used sustainably today.”
What is a charity?
- A charity is an institution established only for charitable purposes for public benefit. The Charities Act details acceptable purposes, including the advancement of environmental protection or improvement.
- Charities cannot have a political purpose, but can pursue political activity if this supports the organisation’s charitable purposes.
- Charities are governed by trustees, who are unpaid and responsible for financial and operational decisions.
- All charities with an income of more than £5,000 must register with the Charity Commission. This enables them to pay reduced business rates, receive tax relief and apply for certain grants and funding.
- Registered charities raising more than £10,000 a year must submit annual accounts to the commission, which are published online.