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TECs 'are not charities'

Training and enterprise councils are not charities, the High Court has ruled, ending months of uncertainty over legal status which put a question mark over the activities of TECs countrywide.

The complex dispute began four years ago when Oldham TEC was advised it could claim charitable status in order to avoid corporation tax. But the move caught up with TEC chiefs when the Inland Revenue appealed against the decision by special commissioners to grant the status. During the appeal process, projects planned by Oldham and other TECs - including more than 15 mergers with chambers of commerce - were put on ice.

A court judgment this week said TECs cannot be charities because of their enterprise promotion activities, despite their training role. Though the Inland Revenue has won, TECs claim they are pleased the decision has removed concern over possible barriers on their business functions.

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