Thursday, 22 October 2009

Gibson calls for debate on Highland Hospice financial loss

News release
Immediate release

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has lodged a motion for debate in the Scottish Parliament urging action from the Scottish and UK Government to help compensate Highland Hospice after it lost £658,832 following the collapse of an Icelandic bank.

Mr Gibson said that due to the nature of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme criteria some wealthy individuals had been repaid after the UK subsidiary of Icelandic bank Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander went into administration last year. He also pointed out that despite a Westminster Treasury Committee recommendation that all charities be compensated it had not happened.

Paying over £25,000 in interest alone since the September 2008 collapse, Highland Hospice has only recovered £132,294, leaving a black hole of £526,538 in its accounts in contrast to the Christie Hospital in Manchester which the Prime Minster specially intervened directly to aid, which was then fully compensated. Mr Gibson understands that the reason why the Highland Hospice it has not being bailed out by the UK Government is that the new Third Sector Resilience Fund (introduced by the Scottish Government) would count against it. However Mr Gibson also understands that Highland Hospice does not qualify for the fund.

He has therefore asked the Scottish Government to re-asses the criteria for the resilience fund and has called on the UK Government to fairly recompense all charities including Highland Hospice.

Mr Gibson said…

"I hope that this motion attracts enough cross party support to allow it to be debated in Parliament. The palliative care carried out by the Hospice is invaluable and unique. It delivers great dignity to those in their final moments of life. And acts as a great comfort to their families and friends. So it is important that it is not allowed to end."

"I hope that both the Scottish and UK Government can take action that makes sure that the excellent care provided by the Hospice throughout the Highlands and Islands can continue."

Mr Gibson has also lodged a series of written questions with the Scottish Government asking if the resilience fund can be restructured to allow applications to be made by organisations which were affected by the collapse of the Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander bank.



Copy of motion for debate

Fair Treatment for all Investors in Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander
That the Parliament recognises that many charities lost large amounts of money when the UK-based subsidiary of Icelandic bank Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander was placed in administration by the UK Government in 2008; notes that the Highland Hospice, the only hospice serving adults with incurable life-limiting disease in the Highlands and acknowledged as the centre of specialist palliative care expertise in the region, was one of these depositors; considers that, due to the arbitrary Financial Services Compensation Scheme criteria, some wealthy individuals have been compensated for their loss in full and that, due to a direct intervention by the Prime Minister, the Christie Hospital in Manchester, a registered charity, was fully compensated but that Highland Hospice has not been compensated for its loss, despite a Treasury Committee recommendation for charities to be recompensed, and understands that this is because the UK Government has stated that this would affect the general help provided to the third sector by the Resilience Fund launched earlier this month by the Scottish Government; understands however that Highland Hospice does not meet the criteria of the Resilience Fund, and would therefore welcome both a review of the Resilience Fund's criteria and that the Scottish Government make representations to the UK Government to fairly recompense all charities and enable Highland Hospice to continue to provide invaluable palliative and end-of-life care throughout the Highlands of Scotland.

Copy of questions to Scottish Government

To ask the Scottish Executive what the criteria are for charities to receive funds from the £1.7 million Third Sector Resilience Fund.

To ask the Scottish Executive who will be responsible for the dispersal of funds from the Third Sector Resilience Fund.

To ask the Scottish Executive whether applications to the Third Sector Resilience Fund from organisations that have been affected by the collapse of the Kaupthing Bank will be given special consideration.

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