Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Sidmouth, Feb 7, 2017.
Ooooh Maggie Rose, yes please! Where do I send the Cheque?!
PRCLT, Butterley... mark the cheque 'for 6203 only' ;-)
Charity Commission rules are not that prescriptive about existing charities, and ill placed to cope with challenges like this. They will also provide patterns for use if a merger - with whomever - is contemplated.
However, speculating about what may happen in respect of any other group is unlikely to be helpful, and potentially unfair to both groups. And were something being discussed quietly in the background (I'm not connected in any way), speculation could undermine that process.
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Is it a charity?
The MNLPS has so far proved an exception and the owning groups of 60007, 45596 and 71000 do seem determined to carry on, although the first two of these locos have benefitted from lottery funding and the groups responsible for 71000 have had a major shake-up since the engine last turned a wheel. There are also a few individuals with the means to keep their engines going for a while and Jon Jones-Pratt, who has recently taken on Thornbury Castle, seems very keen and blessed with the resources to fund what is going to be a pretty substantial rebuild.
I would grant, however, that these are the exceptions and generally speaking, we will be looking to Carnforth, Tyseley, Icons of Steam, Ian Riley and well-funded multiple loco owning/managing groups like the PRCLT and 5305LA to provide most of the locos for main line steam trains in the future.
Having said that, even if some single owning groups have had to sell up or give up, they nonetheless deserve our gratitude for saving the locos in the first place.
What the owners of many potentially mainline locos could do with is a promoter or operator who has cash but not their own fleet, and would be willing, with suitably 'tight' agreements, to effectively pay hire fees 'up front' to fund getting the locos available for use.
It seems ironic at a time when trains are cancelled or run diesel hauled (or assisted due to the rostered loco having insufficient power to handle the load alone) that past and potential future stars of the mainline are out of use and in a number of cases clearly unable to fund returning to traffic.
However, life is never simple - such an arrangement would almost need to be like Ian Riley seems to have with the KWVR concerning 45212, as the funder would want to check the work was to the necessary standard - there have been a number of examples were expenditure of considerable cash and time has not produced a locomotive fit for traffic. This would involve some considerable surrendering of control and also perhaps mean that the loco's own past team wouldn't be involved in the overhaul. As for some, 'taking it to bits and doing things with the bits' is the appeal, this would also potentially not go down well!
I suspect merging of groups so that they have a number of locos and can have one in traffic and earning while another is being worked on is another possible way forward.
I don't think it is - certainly, the accounts filed at Companies House are not Charity accounts. A Company can be Limited by Guarantee without being also a Charity.
How then do they manage not to kiss goodbye to a chunk of their income and donations in taxation?
you pay tax when you make a profit , tax planning means losses can be carried back and allow tax liability to be managed . Whilst there seems to be a mentality of criticising the society some credit should be given that they have been running 6201 on the main line since 1976 with the loco generally being a reliable performer . It is also easy to criticise but what is needed is practical help . If you care about 6201 then go and support this weekends event , offer to volunteer . you won't change the world or society over night but small steps may take things forward as we have seen with 71000
PELS has been a limited company for many years and it was an ownership model that has worked for them historically . Being a charity has obligations that some may not wish to take on , I don't see it a as magic pill to cure all the problems
Charitable status, like most things, has advantages and disadvantages. You get some enhanced income from the tax people, but you also become subject to far greater scrutiny in the form of enhanced administration, and you also lose a certain amount of control and decision making ability with regard to what is really your property. for some societies, charitable status works well, for others a different approach is needed.
I hope the Princess Elizabeth society can succeed as it is a great loco and I love the LMS ( Grandfather was an LMS driver). They also I see have a nice website now, see here https://6201.co.uk/
I fear the problems are deeper that just money. The statement Tyseley put out about it in the Steam Railway magazine implied that they had few active volunteers working on it. There was also a letter in the steam railway by two people who had previously been involved but clearly had stopped now. Has there been some kind of fall out within the society that has caused people to drift away ?
One of the problems I can see too as that they seem to have no place where the locomotive is based, Do they have their own shed/workshop to keep it, seems not ? It seems to have moved from place to place with no home base. The trouble is with that is that it is hard to keep volunteers. If for example you are at Crewe there might be people living in that area that would get involved, but then if it moves somewhere else those people wont necessarily move with it (unless it is not far away). Volunteer generally volunteer somewhere near where they live.
So if you move you almost have to start again to try and find new people. They would be better off deciding where they want to be and staying in that location so they can build up volunteers and facilities in the one place. Will it stay at Butterley ?
Only until the next falling out.
No I don't think 6201 is a charity. I personally like the charity set up and hate the idea of people being obsessed by ownership of things, for me it's about custodianship of the thing and passing it on when my time is up. The extra money is most welcome, raise a million and get £250,000 back from the tax man (seems mad not to want that!)
I can see how you could loose control as there are stricter conditions but then does this help projects that can become dictatorships?
First, raise your million pounds, easier said than done. As others have said, to raise the income you need to provide some positive return to the contributor; that removes some of the income straight away, but also that part spent on the benefit is not liable to a donation from tax relief. Another point is that the contributor must be a UK tax payer, so donations from abroad or from people in the UK who do not pay income tax, and many of us are now past retirement age, also does not earn tax relief. So inroads into your £1M pounds have already been made, likewise the £250K you were hoping for from the taxman.
Part of the control you have lost is, if you decide to pass on ownership of the loco to a third party, should you be a registered charity, so must be the recipient. You might feel that, for instance, the Severn Valley Railway would be a good home, but it isn't a charity. It does have the Charitable Trust so you could donate your loco to that, but it isn't the SVR. It is independent and might or might not work with the Railway to the benefit of what was your engine, but by now you have no say in the matter. The problem is that everything you wish to do becomes subject to the question, "Can we do that under Charity Commission rules?". This does limit your options quite a bit.
Charitable status is absolutely right for some societies, but not so for others. The thought that becoming a charity gives you a big income boost to solve all your problems doesn't always work in practice. There is no one size fits all solution; each group must work out the pros and cons for itself and its engine.
Agreed - I might be in a minority of one, but I prefer to make donations to charities. I tend at the least to be cautious about giving to any kind of non-charitable company structure, but will happily donate to a charity: the key is in the word "donate" (rather than "invest" etc). Partly that is because of the thought that the Gift Aid is of value; partly it is because I want my donation to be - well, a donation: I explicitly don't want anything in return, nor any perceived ownership or stake, but rather I want the whole of my donation to be working towards the objective I give it for.
I have never met Mr. Cameron, but having ridden behind both the A4 and the K4 I am very grateful for what he has done to keep these two locomotives in service.
The problem for me is that, in his twilight years he seems to be unwilling to surrender control of the locomotives for the benefit of future generations, and also the locos themselves. Echoes of the 6201 society?
The idea of 'stuffing and mounting' them in an obscure museum somewhere seems to me like it's commemorating Mr. Cameron himself, rather than the two engines. It's a personal view and may seem harsh, but sorry that's how I feel.
Its how a lot of us feel and I make no apology for saying that I do not foresee a trip to the wilds of Fife to pay my respects to these engines
Without specific knowledge of Mr Cameron's longest term intentions for his locos, speculation is unproductive. At some future point, as for us all, the relevant decisions will fall to his nominated legatees in any event.
Should someone who has made such a grand contribution to preservation for so many years wish to spend such time as remains to him in reflective contemplation whilst gazing on these two superb specimens, I'd contend that he's fully earned every right to do so.
For those living north of the Trent, the Kingdom of Fife is no more difficult to reach than those of us in SW England who wish travel to York.
You're not alone Tom. I do not contribute to a project because of what rewards/incentives they offer. In fact I hope they don't. I contribute because I believe in a project and the only reward I want is to see the project reach fruition.
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