Official complaint against lottery fund boss

The Conservative Party is to file a complaint with the Cabinet Secretary about a recent claim by Big Lottery Fund chair Sir Clive Booth that the party was hostile to the voluntary sector. The Tories will say that Booth stepped beyond his remit and the comments were party political.

Booth told Third Sector last month that the Tories were using inaccurate figures in claims that the BLF had high overheads and accused the party of being “hostile to the voluntary and community sector” (Third Sector, 30 January).

Booth recently had a meeting with shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and shadow charities minister Greg Clark, and it is understood that during the meeting Booth was invited to retract his comments but refused to do so.

Having failed to get a retraction, the Conservatives have written to the Cabinet Secretary, who heads the civil service, asking for action to be taken against Booth.

Some non-departmental public bodies are staffed by civil servants but others are not. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that Clive Booth is not a civil servant but is bound by Cabinet Office guidance.

"As the Chair of a Non-Departmental Public Body, Sir Clive Booth is bound by the terms and conditions of appointment issued by the Department which are based on the Cabinet Office guidance on codes of practice for board members of public bodies (October 2004)," a spokeswoman said.

A spokesman said the Cabinet Secretary had not yet received the letter.

A spokeswoman for the Big Lottery Fund said: “If there is a letter of complaint, that is a matter for the Cabinet Office to deal with.”

Clark declined to comment and Hunt was unavailable for comment.

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