MPs' groups funded by charities

The NCVO, Barrow Cadbury Trust and the RNID are among several charities that pay money to all-party Parliamentary groups set up to examine specific causes they are interested in.

But the organisations deny that they are "paying for a say in Parliament" and claim the practice is "part of the democratic process".

The Skin Care Campaign and the RNID were revealed in The Times last week to be paying £15,000 and £6,000 a year respectively to separate all-party Parliamentary groups. But Third Sector has learnt that many more charities offer either annual sums or administrative support to such groups.

The funds are mainly used for secretariats or research work.

The NCVO donates £10,000 a year to the group that deals with the community and voluntary sector, and the Barrow Cadbury Trust gives £24,000 to the human rights group.

Housing Justice used a £20,000 grant from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to fund the group on homelessness and housing need.

Peter Lapsley, chief executive of the Skin Care Campaign, said: "There is nothing wrong with external organisations representing a group of patients seeking to influence Parliament - it is part of the democratic process."

Mark Morris, head of Parliamentary and European affairs at the RNID, also defended his charity's contribution.

"There is nothing underhand about this," said Morris. "No MP gets money for being a member of this group."

Pete Moorey, Parliamentary and campaigns officer at the NCVO, said: "It is not a case of the sector paying its way.

"The group you are supporting is not your group, it's the members' group."

But Sir Alistair Graham, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, has suggested the practice could begin to "dominate" policy.

He told the BBC that providing the secretariat and research work "may, perhaps, not immediately, but over a period of time, influence policy".

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Markel

Expert Hub

Insurance advice from Markel

Cyber and data security - how prepared is your charity?

With a 35 per cent rise in instances of data breaches in Q2 and Q3 last year, charities must take cyber security seriously

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now