Now of course, on this matter I am highly partisan. My office used to be just across a narrow street from theirs and I\’ve puffed many a fag and shot the breeze on the pavement with them.
However, this is really a tad odd.
A campaign group which claims to represent the interests of ordinary taxpayers is using a charitable arm which gives it access to tax relief on donations from wealthy backers, the Guardian has learned.
The Conservative-linked Taxpayers\’ Alliance, which campaigns against the misuse of public funds, has set up a charity under a different name which can secure subsidies from the taxman worth up to 40% on individuals\’ donations. In one example, Midlands businessmen said they channelled funds through the Politics and Economics Research Trust at the request of the Taxpayers\’ Alliance after they asked the campaign group to undertake research into policies which stood to damage their business interests. The arrangement allowed the Taxpayers\’ Alliance to benefit from Gift Aid on the donations, a spokesman for the donors said.
Labour politicians attacked the apparent scheme as hypocritical, and tax accountants warned it could breach charity law, which states that organisations may not be charitable if they have political purposes.
I have a feeling that I might be wrong in this bit I thnink that that\’s not quite right. You cannot be a charity and have a *party* political aim. You can indeed have a political aim: trying to get the law changed to advance your cause is political and there a hundreds of charities out there trying to do that.
A quick trawl through the memory banks and the Charities Commission site gives us Demos, the new economics foundation, well, go to the site and plug in your favourite think tank of the left and see if they benefit from the same charity designation.
I cannot see that what the Taxpayer\’s Alliance does is any more or less political than what Demos and the nef do so tax relief for two should mean tax relief for the third.
My supposition here is that this is really just a piece of mud throwing. We don\’t like what they\’re saying to let\’s ignore the beam and point out the mote.