Communities and Local Government
Steven Baker (Wycombe, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department's policy is on the (a) grant to and (b) use by registered charities of funding from his Department for the purposes of advocacy, lobbying or campaigning; and if he will make a statement.
Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth, Conservative)
Ministers believe that it is inappropriate for taxpayers' money to subsidise such campaigning activity.
Grants to external bodies outline how the funds should be spent and typically include a standard condition that the funds provided should not be spent on activities of a political nature. If hon. Members have concerns that grant recipients are acting inappropriately, Ministers would welcome this being brought to our attention. More broadly, since May 2010, my Department has taken steps to:
Cancel all lobbying contracts held by our Department's public bodies, to stop the practice (common under the last Administration) of government lobbying government;
Introduce a new “Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity” to tackle the use of lobbyists by local authorities;
Publish online all departmental and arm’s length body spending over £500 (now moving to £250) to facilitate greater public scrutiny and accountability of the organisations we fund.