The IEA has taken taxpayers’ cash in Gift Aid associated with donations to the right-wing think tank, and some of this money was undoubtedly a part of the alleged donations to Matthew Hancock.
Scandalously, it seems the think tank was using public money to help persuade (let’s call it that for now) the Cabinet Office minister to ban exactly that practice.
If true, this is probably the most blatant display of corruption to be made by the current Conservative Government (although we’re still in early days).
If true, the decision made by Hancock under the influence of IEA donations should be reversed at once, as it cannot be proved that he was not unduly influenced by the cash.
If true, the IEA has disgraced itself and should be banned from lobbying Parliament again in any way.
If true, Hancock has disgraced himself and his office and right-thinking people across the UK should be baying for his head.
The only joy in this is that, if the claims made about Gift Aid are correct, the IEA has already, foolishly, diddled itself out of far more money than it ever handed over to politicians.
Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock accepted a £4,000 donation from the chairman of the Institute of Economic Affairs weeks before announcing a clampdown on lobbying by charities promoted by the right-wing think-tank, The Independent can reveal.
Neil Record, a City currency manager who is also a major donor to the Conservative Party, has donated £22,000 to Mr Hancock since 2010, including £4,000 paid in November last year some eight months after the businessman became chairman of the IEA, Britain’s oldest free market think-tank. In an unusual move, Mr Hancock went out of his way to publicly acknowledge “extensive research” by the IEA when he announced a controversial change in rules to ban charities from using public grants to lobby ministers, MPs and civil servants.
The policy shift has sparked outrage among charities, who accuse the Government of preventing publicly funded volunteer groups from speaking up on behalf of the disadvantaged, while allowing lobbying from privately funded bodies, some backed by corporate money, to continue seeking to influence policy.
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