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It is a pleasure to follow Mr Allen, who speaks to the Committee with great experience, but on this occasion I cannot agree with him. I support my hon. Friend Jacob Rees-Mogg and the wording of his amendment:
“During a regulated period no controlled expenditure is to be incurred by any third party that is in receipt of public funds”.
There has for some time been a problem with using public money to get involved in our political system, and that has caused me considerable concern. The Public Administration Committee looks at charities, what they do and how they act and operate. The findings of some of our investigations are a matter of grave concern. There has been a tremendous change over the past 15 to 20 years in the third sector and how it operates, which makes my hon. Friend’s amendment relevant, but also means that clause 27 and the Bill in general should be brought to this Bill Committee.
In the past 15 years the state funding of charities in Britain has increased significantly, while restrictions on political lobbying by charities have been substantially relaxed. Some 27,000 charities are now dependent on the Government for more than 75% of their income and the voluntary sector receives more money from the state than it does in voluntary donations. That fact is pointed out by the Institute of Economic Affairs in its report entitled “Sock Puppets”. It is important for us to be aware of that.