Wednesday, November 18, 2009
UK Minister diverts fund allocated for Campaigning to service delivery
More evidence from the UK about the depoliticisation of the NGO sector and the unwillingness of government to support the campaigning activities of small NGO's.
The decision by the British Minister for the Third Sector Angela Smith to abandon a 750,000 pound Campaigning Grants Program after 32 successful applicants had been told they would receive funds has generated outrage among the British voluntary (NGO) sector. The decision has breached the Labour Government's own Compact with the Voluntary sector which outlines how the public and voluntary sector will behave towards each other.
The Minister's Office of the Third Sector announced last Friday that it was diverting the funds allocated to small agencies for campaigning activities into a Hardship Fund to support NGO's providing support for disadvantaged people.
With an election not far away it appears that the Brown Government got nervous about the potential political fallout of funding campaigning and activist groups in the lead up to an election. The agencies involved had already received letters informing them of the success of their grant so the legality of the Government's decision is likely to be tested.