Local CAB reported for hosting Labour Party propaganda event

cabOn Monday the Hammersmith and Fulham Citizen’s Advice Bureau hosted a Labour Party propaganda even with the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves. It was attacking the piloting in this borough of Universal credit. In fact, the programme is proving a great success in helping to reduce unemployment – as Miss Reeves could  have discovered had she troubled to visit the Hammersmith Job Centre and talked to some of the claimants.

But, whatever your political view may be, it should not be for a charity to use its resources for a political party. This charity has Labour councillors on it board. It is also heavily dependent on council funding – which leaves the Labour council with a huge conflict of interest.

The Charity Commission rules state:

“Charities which enlist the support of politicians, however, must be conscious of the importance of their independence, and wherever possible seek cross-party representation in order to stay politically neutral. The Charity Commission would be concerned if a particular charity consistently enlisted the support of politicians from only one political party.”

I asked Simi Ryatt, the charity’s chief executive to clarify:

1. Which of the Avonmore and Brook Green Ward councillors were invited to attend yesterday and what was the criteria used for inviting some but not all of them?

2. Which of the Addison Ward councillors were invited to attend yesterday and what was the criteria used for inviting some but not all of them?

3. Is it true that HAFCAB has expressed opposition to Universal Credit, the piloting of Universal Credit in our borough or  any of the Government’s other welfare reforms? The difficulty is not merely that you hosted a Labour Party event but that they then claimed your endorsement for their stance.

However she was unable or unwilling to provide clear answers. Or even any reassurance that such a future lapse will not occur you.

This left me with no alternative than logging a formal complaint with the Charity Commission regarding their decision to become involved with party political activity.

I have also raised separately with the council the unfortunate conflict of interest that now arises for the new administration regarding decisions about your funding from the council.

This has been a huge mistake for H&F CAB. A terrible misjudgment for their reputation – which they still don’t seem to appreciate.


6 thoughts on “Local CAB reported for hosting Labour Party propaganda event

  1. The scale of left wing influence in “charity” and public secor funded institutions is a disgrace. One wonders why the Conservative led coalition would tolerate it. The truth is they perpetuate it by repeatedly appointing openly Labour supporting people to quangos and the like.

    Press comment has recently brought to wider attention the extent to which “charities” are funded by our government or the European Union. Surely a well run and tax payer funded Conservative Party should have identified this while in opposition. Having now been told about it, when will there be action to withdraw the funding which tax payers cannot afford and ought not to be permitted in the first place.

    • Who packed numerous ‘charities’ with Labour stooges, turning them into left wing lobby groups? The dishonourable member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

  2. I remember this being tried by Tories in the 1980s over Joan Ruddock. After an investigation into the CAB movement they were given a clean bill of health. It will happen again. What governments – Tory or Labour – don’t like is the exposure CABx make of the results of their policies on ordinary people.

  3. Funny, isn’t Hammersmith and Fulham the place where until last month the Tory administration were spending enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money on direct propaganda and self-aggrandisement? Going so far as to damage the local newspaper to such an extent H&F became the only Borough without an independent newspaper.

  4. As a retired banking lawyer, I decided to volunteer with the CAB at the height of the credit crisis in 2008/9 thinking my experience of banks and other lenders and numeracy would make me a useful debt adviser. The first surprise was that they were not prepared to let me focus on debt issues – I had to agree to advise across the board and on matters like housing, employment and benefits which were outside my area of expertise. The next surprise was that there was a very narrow range of acceptable views within the Camden bureau where I volunteered – all left wing. After about 5 months when I came up for review and was asked to write about my experiences to date – I wrote some mildly critical remarks. At the review, it was suggested that I did not fit in and it would be better if I withdrew. Sad that they thought it was easier to dispense with the only real lawyer volunteer rather than have to face an occasional alternative view of the world. That would be too challenging. I know of a couple of other retired City professionals who have started off volunteering with the CAB but who have since withdrawn – although I think I am unique among my acquaintances in having been asked to leave.

    So I am surprised that anyone is surprised at this view of the CAB.

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