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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Regulator ‘used as a front’ by the government

This news post is almost 9 years old

The Charity Commission is being "used as a front" by government trying to silence charities, it has been claimed following Oxfam investigation

The UK government has been accused of using a charity regulator as a front in a bid to silence criticism of rising poverty levels.

A Conservative MP has complained to the Charity Commission in England and Wales over Oxfam’s Perfect Storm drive, which aims to highlight deprivation caused by “zero hours contracts, high prices, benefit cuts, unemployment and childcare costs.”

John Downie

We should be more concerned about the Charity Commission being used as a front for the government

John Downie

Conor Burns said the campaign is “overtly political” and now the Charity Commission has said it will assess whether Oxfam has broken any rules.
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ director of public affairs John Downie insisted that Oxfam is acting within its remit by highlighting poverty – and instead claimed the government is trying to muzzle charities to hide some uncomfortable truths.

He said: “Rather than being concerned about charities campaigning on areas they have a complete right to campaign on – such as Oxfam on poverty – maybe we should be more concerned about the Charity Commission being used as a front for the government.

“Oxfam is completely correct to say that highlighting poverty should be non-party political.

“The only people playing politics here is the government, which is threatening the independence of the third sector because it doesn’t want attention drawn to issues such as poverty - where it has taken completely the wrong approach.”

As part of its campaign, Oxfam is urging supporters to email MPs with a letter condemning the “unacceptable” reliance on foodbanks.

Policy director Ben Phillips said: “Fighting poverty should not be a party political issue. Successive governments have presided over a tide of rising inequality and created a situation where foodbanks and other providers provided 20 million meals last year to people who could not afford to feed themselves.

“This is an unacceptable situation and politicians of all stripes have a responsibility to tackle it.”

Scotland’s charity regulator said it could not comment on an issue involving the Charity Commission.



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