Charities banned from using government grants to lobby ministers

Lazy: Matthew Hancock.

Lazy: Matthew Hancock.

This could seriously harm free speech.

The Conservative Government’s excuse for it is the issue of “sock puppets”, where taxpayers’ money is given to pressure groups which then campaign for policy changes or extra money – but isn’t it a duty of a grant-paying organisation like central government to weed out such organisations before the money is dispensed, rather than cooking up a blanket refusal that includes charities and campaigners who genuinely know their subject?

At the very least, this plan is lazy.

It seems the Tory Government simply doesn’t want to let charities plead the cause of the disadvantaged. Who else will?

One is left with the impression that the Conservatives simply want to shut down criticism of their policies – just as they have been trying to shut down their political opponents ever since last year’s general election with the attack on ‘Short’ money for political parties and the intended cut in union funding to the Labour Party in the Trade Union Bill.

Organisations given UK government grants will be banned from using the money to try to persuade ministers to change the law or increase spending.

A new clause will be added into all new and renewed grant agreements to ensure funds are spent on good causes, rather than on political campaigns.

Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock said “the farce of government lobbying government” had to stop.

Voluntary groups said the rules could threaten their freedom to speak out.

Critics also said the restrictions, which come into effect in May and will only apply to grants from central UK government departments, could be hard to enforce.

Source: Organisations banned from using government grants to lobby ministers – BBC News

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12 thoughts on “Charities banned from using government grants to lobby ministers

  1. Brian

    You could see their point if it were ‘their’ money, but this is ‘our’ money, so what they are doing, as you say, is Gagging the criticism of their policies, sneaky and underhand as usual.

  2. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    Charities losing the right to criticize government policies is consistent with my view that Britain is turning into a retrograde society, in which hard-won services, benefits, and human rights are being eroded or lost.

    1. chris

      but in the end Britain will never be a retrograde society, our hard-won services, benefits, and human rights will never be eroded or lost because we will win the end

  3. mohandeer

    It’s a bit rich the current government’s use of the term “sock puppets” since so many of us believe that Cameron talks out of his ar, hat or has someone else’s hand up his ar, derriere. Mind you, it’s doubtful Cameron could even find his own ar, behind, with both hands.

  4. David Woods

    Much easier way – Ban all MP’s from becoming lobbyists – cut off their extra income, remove conflicts of interest and shut the main highway of big companies buying the government.
    Sorry, ‘Influencing government policy’!

  5. Terry Davies

    the opposition should join together and mske the UK ungovernable to trigger s vote of no confidence. then the focus eould not be legislating but shifted for the tories to survival of the party.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      A ‘no confidence’ vote would require the co-operation of a significant proportion of the Parliamentary Conservative Party. It would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

  6. NMac

    They are trying to silence any form of criticism of their nasty, cruel and maliciously vindictive policies.

Comments are closed.