Majority of public want charities to criticise government

Gagged mute speechless

Survey finds people want charities to hold government to account 

11th March 2016 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Charities should be allowed to criticise government even when they are receiving funding from it, according to 57% of the British public.

A survey of 1,000 British adults found that six out of 10 respondents agreed it was acceptable for charities to be critical of government.  

NfpSynergy carried out the research last October - before the government announced it would insert an anti-lobbying clause into all grant agreements to prevent charities from using funds to influence government or parliament.

The thinkthank said the results showed "that the public is comfortable with charities engaging in the political process."

Its report showed that only 6% of public respondents would be “put off from giving to a particular charity” because of its campaigning to change a law.

The research also shows that MPs views on charity campaigning are very much divided along party lines, whilst the overwhelming majority of the 150 journalists surveyed said it was “acceptable for charities to highlight the impact of a policy on beneficiaries”.

It is only Conservative MPs who appear to have a substantive problem with charity campaigning - Joe Saxton

Joe Saxton, who heads nfpSynergy, said: “There are plenty of ways in which charity activity and public opinion are not in step, but campaigning is not one of them.

“Indeed of all the different groups we research at nfpSynergy, it is only Conservative MPs who appear to have a substantive problem with charity campaigning.

“The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but given that the Conservative government has driven through both the Lobbying Act while it was in coalition, and now the clause in government contracts, it is clearly a deeply held belief.

“It is deeply ironic that as a government rails against public funds being used to campaign, the official EU Leave campaign will get public funding to the tune of £7 million. How does that work?”

11th March 2016 by Helena

And of course the Scottish government have already said that they totally 'support charities in being able to campaign on political matters'. See First Ministers Questions for Nicola Sturgeon's stance on this.