Double Standards of the Charity Commission

Today the Charity Commission proudly published a slap-down of the Institute of Economic Affairs for having the temerity to produce recommendations for how the Government should deliver Brexit. By publishing ‘Plan A+’, the Charity Commission argues that the IEA has been insufficiently balanced.

“educational charities must ensure that their research reports present balanced and neutral information allowing the reader to make up his or her own mind about the issue explored”

But where was the “official warning” for the left wing charity the Institute of Public Policy Research, run by Ed Miliband’s former spin doctor, which in 2017 produced not dissimilar document called The Shared Market proposing a left wing route out of the EU, tying the UK into EU regulatory structures. As a ‘proposed agreement’ this was entirely analogous to the IEA plan…

“The proposed agreement outlined in this briefing would be a distinct way forward for the UK and the EU27.”

What about the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which in 2015 gave £30,000 to Compass, a left-wing membership organisation affiliated to the Labour Party. It also donated £85,000 to “Corporate Watch” who have published books including advocacy of government boycott of the Jewish state, along with “Capitalism, what is it and how can we destroy it?” Very charitable… 

Where is the investigation into the charity ‘Hope Not Hate’, who have received £90,000 from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, and are campaigning against Brexit with Gina Miller’s radical campaign group ‘Best for Britain.’ They have openly stated that:

“We believe that a hard Brexit is being used by the radical right, inside and outside the Conservative Party, to dramatically change British society – and change it for the worse.”

How is this very balanced and educational?

UPDATE: The IEA has put out a formal response to the Charity Commission:

“The Institute of Economic Affairs is disappointed that the Charity Commission has issued us with an official warning for the publication and launch of a trade paper in September 2018.

“The IEA is considering a range of options, as we believe this warning has extremely widespread and worrying implications for the whole of the think tank and educational charity sector.

“A precedent is being set: research papers – and their launches – which put forward policy proposals may now fall outside the parameters of what the Charity Commission considers acceptable activity.

“We will be working with the Charity Commission to address these points. Earlier this year, we asked a number of questions of the Commission relating to these regulatory matters and have yet to receive a response. We look forward to receiving such a response shortly to help inform our future activity.”


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