Labour's Paul Flynn calls for investigation of big society project

Flynn submits an early day motion to the House of Commons that alleges the big society led to favouritism for some charities, such as Kids Company

Paul Flynn
Paul Flynn

A Labour MP and member of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has called for an investigation into the "financial consequences of the government’s big society project" and consequent alleged favouritism shown to charities such as the now defunct Kids Company.

Paul Flynn, the MP for Newport West, made the call in an early day motion in the House of Commons yesterday. An early day motion is a formal motion submitted for debate in parliament and signed by supporting MPs, although few are ever formally discussed in the house.

The motion says that the big society project, which was launched by David Cameron in 2010 to transfer power to communities and support the voluntary sector, "resulted in funding shortfalls suffered by efficient, deserving charities because of the use of a new fund operated through the Cabinet Office under the direction of the Prime Minister to favour charities closely identified with the big society project".

The motion also notes that the founder of Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidjh, was the "poster girl" of the big society project and "was rewarded with donations to her Kids Company charity of almost a third of all funding that went to the 18 youth organisations who successfully applied in 2011, 2012 and 2013, in spite of ministerial misgivings".

As of Thursday morning, the motion had signed by one other MP: Kelvin Hopkins, the Labour MP for Luton North.

The PACAC has run several investigations into the charity sector recently. Its inquiry into charity fundraising practices concluded that Sir Stuart Etherington’s review of fundraising self-regulation did not go far enough but rejected calls for a Fundraising Preference Service to be established.

PACAC has also conducted an inquiry into the collapse of Kids Company and is expected to publish its report shortly.

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