Curzon Institute

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 12th February 2014.

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Photo of Sheila Gilmore Sheila Gilmore Labour, Edinburgh East

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 December 2013, Official Report, column 157W, on the Curzon Institute, if he will publish the minutes of meetings between his Department and the Curzon Institute at which this contract was discussed.

Photo of Stephen Williams Stephen Williams The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

holding answer 16 December 2013

Ministers have not met with the Curzon Institute/Curzon Education. Civil servants have met representatives of Curzon Education on 21 June 2013, 4 July 2013, 5 September 2013 and 10 October 2013. Mr Amin, who is their projects adviser, attended the first three meetings.

There are no formal minutes to publish, simply because, as was the case under previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to take or publish formal minutes of informal meetings between officials and interested parties.

I would like to take this opportunity to add to the comments made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mr Pickles, on this topic in response to the oral question on 20 January 2014, Hansard, columns 17-18, by Andy McDonald.

The Government is committed to honouring the contribution of the every one of the brave men and women who served during the First World War-those from the UK, from the Commonwealth and beyond, whose bravery and service was so crucial to the Allied victory.

The Department was approached by Curzon Education with a proposal to deliver a series of lectures around the country, focusing on the little-known contribution of people from all faiths and all backgrounds, from Canada to the Caribbean, in fighting for the Allied cause and the defence of liberty. Accompanying the lectures, Curzon Education will also be producing educational material covering the contribution made by the Commonwealth during the First World War.

To date, Curzon Education has delivered nine lectures across the country, including Birmingham, Bristol, London and Leicester. These lectures have attracted over 1,300 people, from different faiths, schools and community groups. More events are to follow. Further information on the programme can be found at:

http://ww1commonwealthcontribution.org/

This grant to Curzon went through the standard civil service vetting and approval processes. What one of representatives of the Curzon Institute does in his spare time was not relevant in the slightest. Mr Amin may be active in Conservative party politics, but I am sure that many parliamentary candidates from other parties have sat and assisted voluntary sector organisations which may have received government funding under previous Administrations.

This worthwhile project will help to make the Government's First World War centenary fitting, meaningful and relevant. It encourages integration by sharing the message that people of all faiths and all backgrounds can be united in service and bravery.

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