Survey Reveals That The Majority of Tory MPs Think Charities Should Not Be “Political”

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28th January 2014 12:15 - Voluntary

Research consultancy nfpSynergy recently asked 157 MPs in June and July what it meant for charities to be political for its report “The Politics of Charities”. Findings show more than three-quarters (78%) of Conservative MPs think it is a negative trait for charities to “be political” – compared with a fifth (23%) of Labour MPs and two-fifths (38%) of Liberal Democrat MPs.

None of the Tory MPs surveyed thought that being political was a positive trait for a charity, compared with sixteen per cent of Labour and eight per cent of Liberal Democrat MPs.

nfpSynergy asked the same question of 173 journalists: A quarter (24%) said it was a negative thing and six per cent said it was positive. Two-thirds (67%) said it was neither.

The majority (87%) of journalists polled said it was “fine for charities to spend funding on campaigning if that’s a key part of their purpose”. A tenth (13%) chose the other option, which was that “charities should concentrate their funds on helping their beneficiaries, not on campaigns”.

The consultancy also asked 1,000 adults whether they thought that “charities should be able to campaign to change laws and government policies relevant to their work”, to which three-fifths (58%) of the public agreed; only a tenth (10%) disagreed.

Tim Harrison, head of professional audiences at nfpSynergy, said:

"Things are getting tense for charities in Westminster. As the lobbying bill trundles through parliament, the nightmare of charities being severely limited in politically representing their beneficiaries threatens to become a reality.”

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