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Charities have assets estimated to be £1bn

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JERSEY’S 350-plus registered charities could have assets worth a billion pounds, according to the Island’s charity commissioner.

In his report that went to External Relations Minister Ian Gorst, John Mills outlined the progress that had been made in the charity sector in the past year.

Thirty-six charities were successful in registering this year, with assets worth £76 million. However, in total, between 350 and 400 charities are registered, with assets worth a billion pounds.

Mr Mills said: ‘Already, at the end of 2018, the register revealed assets available to 36 Jersey-registered charities which were nearer a hundred than 50 million pounds; extrapolating that to the likely eventual steady-state number of registrations, say, somewhere between 350 and 400, the asset base of the charity sector may, overall, be a billion pounds. We never quite knew this, and the details will have to wait for another year, but it may go some way to explaining why the voluntary sector in the country is, generally speaking, as vibrant and varied as it is, even as the taxpayer struggles to fund so much else.’

Of the 36 charities registered last year, 21 operate solely in Jersey, 11 in both Jersey and the UK and four abroad, although they are based in Jersey.

Mr Mills added that the commission had been busy processing a large number of applications.

He said: ‘By the end of the year, no less than 434 applications for registration had been made, perhaps a slightly remarkable number for so small a country, and the process of registration was in train.’

Other findings in the report show that the commissioner and his office cost £148,000 in 2018, with 75% of the funds being spent on remuneration.

Figures also showed that 71% of Jersey adults had confidence in the Island’s charities, compared with 58% for the judiciary and 28% for the government.

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One thing Mr Mills wants to continue to encourage is transparency from charities by publishing documents and accounts.

It is something that most do, but he insists there is still a bit of work to be done.

He added: ‘Quite a few full sets of accounts are available on the websites of registered charities, but it is evident that practice in this regard is not uniform.

‘I intend to begin to seek to encourage such transparency.’

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