An anonymous donation made to a fund in 1928 to inspire the government to pay off the UK's debt is now worth £350 million - but cannot be touched.
The National Fund, set up 85 years ago and now managed by Barclays, has grown to become one of the largest charities in the UK by net assets, but due to a specification made by the donor.
The donor specified that the fund should be held in trust until the country raises enough money to pay off the whole debt, which currently stands at £1.2 trillion.
Barclays is believed to have been trying for four years to get permission to use the money to make charitable grants or to turn it over to the Treasury, but any change would have to be approved by a court.
A charity regulator has warned that large salaries of £100,000 or more paid to top executives could bring the sector into "disrepute".
The Charity Commission's chairman, William Shawcross, has claimed wages should be fair and appropriate to both donors and taxpayers who fund charities.
Here are examples of what other public figures earn per year:
- The Prime Minister, David Cameron, receives a combined ministerial and parliamentary salary of £142,500.
- The annual salary of an MP is £66,396, as of April 1, 2013.
A warning by the chairman of the Charity Commission over top charity executives' salaries is "deeply unhelpful", according to Sir Stephen Bubb.
The chief executive of charity leaders organisation Acevo has criticised William Shawcross's view that high executive salaries could bring the charitable sector into "disrepute".
Mr Bubb said charity trustees and donors are focused on the performance of an organisation and not issues over pay.
This simply isn't an issue for donors. Donors are more concerned about the outcomes, the performance and the efficiency of these organisations.
To keep talent, really strong people, at the top of these organisations they need to be paid properly. These are still not excessive salaries when you compare them to the public and private sectors.
Executive salaries at 14 of Britain's leading foreign aid charities are "broadly in line" with other charities, according to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), the umbrella organisation which coordinates responses to major disasters overseas.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the number of executives at charities connected to the DEC receiving salaries of £100,000 or more has increased from 19 to 30 over the past three years.
The Disasters Emergency Committee plays no part in setting executive salaries at our member agencies but we believe these salaries are broadly in line with pay at other charities of comparable size.
To ensure the most effective use of appeal funds, a balance must be struck between minimising overheads and ensuring a robust management system is in place.Good management of emergency responses in the UK allows our member agencies to deliver the planning, monitoring, accountability and transparency that this work requires and that the public rightly demands.
Charity trustees should consider whether high salaries paid to executives are "really appropriate" and "fair" to both the donors and taxpayers who fund the organisations.
William Shawcross, who chairs the Charity Commission, has called for executive salaries to be in line with the current financial climate in the industry.
It is not for the commission to tell charities how much they should pay their executives. That is a matter for their trustees.
However, in these difficult times, when many charities are experiencing shortfalls, trustees should consider whether very high salaries are really appropriate, and fair to both the donors and the taxpayers who fund charities.
Disproportionate salaries risk bringing organisations and the wider charitable world into disrepute.
Disproportionate salaries for charity executives risk bringing the wider charitable world into disrepute, the Charity Commission's chairman has warned.
William Shawcross said it is a matter for trustees to decide if high wages are appropriate and fair to both donors and taxpayers who fund charities.
Mr Shawcross made the comments as the Daily Telegraph reported that the number of executives at charities connected to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) receiving salaries of £100,000 or more has increased from 19 to 30 over the past three years.
The Telegraph research focused on 14 foreign aid charities which make-up the DEC, which raises money quickly at times of tragedy in the world.
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