CTC members have voted to take the necessary steps to allow the organisation to convert to charitable status after 133 years as a mutual. At its recent AGM the organisation whose membership now stands at a record 67,058 voted to chance the CTC's Memorandum and Articles of Association and convert in to a membership charity from its current status as a mutual organisation with a charity attached. In effect the 133 year old mutual membership organisation will convert to charitable status and merge with the much newer CTC Charitable Trust.
This year's vote was the third time that CTC members have voted on the subject of charitable status in the last two years. At last year's AGM the membership voted to convert, but then a second vote on changing the Memorandum and Articles of Association failed to get the necessary 75 per cent majority. Necessitating this year's vote in which 80 per cent of the 11,000 votes cast were in favour of making the necessary changes to allow the process of conversion to continue.
Turning the entire organisation in to a charity will, say CTC board members help it to claim up to £160,000 in Gift Aid on membership fees - money which can be ploughed back in to providing member beneftis and continuing the CTC's campaigning work. Further savings are envisaged in the cost of corporate governance and in other possible reliefs that charitable status may bring.
Speaking to road.cc, CTC chief executive, Kevin Mayne was also keen to stress the other benefits charitable status would bring the organisation:
"We think charities get far more public support, and this change clarifies what we are about," he also points out that the simplification of things such as accounting will make how the organistion operates much more transparent to its members.
As a charity the CTC must have a clearly defined objective and will be legally bound to guarantee member benefits. Mayne and his fellow board members say that the organisation's 178 constitution is so close to the modern definition of a charity that if it were founded today there is not doublt that the CTC would be a charity. They also point to similar membership charities like the National Trust, Ramblers Association, and the RSPCA.
So will we notice a difference once the CTC is a charity? CTC chief exectuive Kevin Mayne thinks not – he sees the change is more about simplifying administation and helping the organisation make more efficient use of the money it raises for the benefit of its membership – it's more a legal reconition that under the terms of the 2006 Charities Act the CTC is already effectively operating as a charity, but without the benefits of charitable status. Sounding a note of caution he also warns that charitable status will not release an instant pot of gold for the organisation saying that it could take up to two years for the full financial benefits to work their way through - first will come some possibly tough negotiations with the tax man over the level of gift aid that they will be able to claim.
You can find out more about the CTC by visiting its website www.ctc.org.uk
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