U-turn on anti-lobbying plan for universities, charities

Ministers have dropped controversial plans to gag charities and universities as a condition of receiving public money after widespread alarm from academics and the voluntary sector, write Matthew Weaver and Patrick Butler for the Guardian.

The government announced the “anti-advocacy clause” without consultation in February, presenting the proposal as a ban on taxpayers’ funds being used for political lobbying. The move prompted a furious reaction from charities and scientists, who said it was an attempt to muzzle criticism from experts on political issues from climate change to changes to the welfare system. Ministers responded by announcing a partial U-turn and now the idea has been abandoned.

Announcing the full climbdown, Rob Wilson, minister for civil society, said the new system would “better protect the role of charities to speak out on behalf of their beneficiaries whilst ensuring taxpayers’ money is used as intended”.
Full report on the Guardian UK site