Charities must be allowed to campaign, Sir Stephen Bubb tells committee of MPs

Acevo chief executive counters concerns about spending on campaigning and advertising

 Sir Stephen Bubb
Sir Stephen Bubb

Charities must be free to campaign in order to hold the government to account, Acevo chief executive Sir Stephen Bubb told a committee of MPs yesterday.

Bubb, speaking at the fifth evidence session of the Public Administration Select Committee inquiry into the big society, said charities had a strong tradition of "working with government to change laws and also kicking government when it gets things wrong".

Bubb earlier this year criticised comments made during the 19 January meeting of the same committee in which some MPs and Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, expressed concerns about the money some charities spent on advertising and campaigning.

Bubb said that charities took care to stop lobbying before it became overtly political.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, told Bubb he did not see any difference between campaigning carried out by charities and campaigning by pressure groups.

"I can’t see any difference between Shelter and the Taxpayers’ Alliance," he said.

Halfon said many charities were opaque about their funding sources and the amount of money they spent on campaigning.

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