Shadow charities minister urges clarity on post-Brexit funding

Labour's Steve Reed also urges the new minister, Mims Davies, to remove 'gagging clauses' from government contracts

Steve Reed
Steve Reed

Steve Reed, the shadow minister for civil society, has called on his new opposite number to clarify the funding situation for the sector post-Brexit and to remove so-called "gagging clauses" from government contracts.

In a letter sent yesterday welcoming Mims Davies to the position of Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Reed says a pressing concern that civil society organisations raise with him is what funding will replace the estimated £250m that comes from the European Union each year once the UK leaves the organisation.

He says he would be grateful for "urgent clarification" on the matter because organisations that rely on such funding cannot plan for the future beyond March, when the UK is due to leave the EU.

He also urges Davies to resurrect reforms proposed by the Conservative peer Lord Hodgson in his government-commissioned review of the lobbying act that would have softened the measures for charities but were shelved by ministers last year.

And Reed calls on Davies to order the removal of clauses from government contracts that prevent voluntary sector organisations from speaking out against policy decisions.

"The government’s worrying instinct to silence criticism is anti-democratic and leads to bad, even dangerous, policy-making," he says.

Davies, the MP for Eastleigh, was given responsibility for sport and charities earlier this month after Tracey Crouch stepped down in protest at a perceived delay to the introduction of changes to the maximum allowable stake on fixed-odds betting terminals.

The government subsequently agreed to speed up the changes to FOBT stakes.

In a statement earlier this week, Davies said: "The work of charities, volunteers and social enterprises is the bedrock of communities across the country.

"As a former charity trustee, volunteer and carer I am very excited to champion the whole of the civil society sector in my new role and look forward to working closely with them to help make people's lives better."

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