Debbie Scott 'is supporting a policy, not a party', argues Tomorrow's People

She did not violate Charity Commission guidance by appearing in the Conservative manifesto, according to her charity

Debbie Scott
Debbie Scott

Employment charity Tomorrow's People has defended the decision of its chief executive to appear in the Conservative Party manifesto.

Debbie Scott, who accepted an offer last year to become a Conservative peer, appears in a full-page picture on page 14 of the manifesto, Invitation to join the Government of Britain, which was published last week.

The page also includes a caption in which Scott is quoted as endorsing the concept of the Conservatives' single work programme. "It pulls everything together and allows organisations like ours to support people more effectively on their individual journey from welfare into work," she says. She is described as the chief executive of Tomorrow's People.

The Charity Commission issued guidance in January that urged charities to be extra-scrupulous not to appear to support one political party over another during to the run-up to an election.

A spokeswoman for Tomorrow's People said the charity was well aware of the guidance. She said the document made it clear that a charity could "give support to a specific policy which is advocated by a political party" if that policy would contribute to the charity's purpose and provided the charity did not give general support to a party.

"Debbie's statement clearly supports a policy, the concept of the 'single work programme'," she said, adding that Scott had made the same offer to comment on welfare-to-work policy to all three main parties. She said Tomorrow's People campaigned "regularly and forcefully across the political spectrum" on behalf of the long-term unemployed.

A spokeswoman for the commission said: "We are assessing this matter in line with normal procedure in order to determine what regulatory role there may be for us. This does not mean that we are investigating this charity; rather that we are currently assessing this specific issue."

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