Philip Davies MP, said: "It is perfectly clear from the bid documents from ASH for Government funding that some of this money is used by ASH for campaigning activity to lobby the Government to implement ASH's demands.
"For the Government to in effect spend money to lobby itself is ridiculous and unjustifiable in equal measure. This improper funding relationship should stop and the Government should investigate this and any other similar arrangements to ensure taxpayers' money is not abused in this way".You'll be pleased to know he hasn't left it there either. Earlier this week saw the publication of a written parliamentary question probing further.
Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether funding allocated to Action on Smoking and Health may be used for campaigning purposes by that body under the terms on which it is allocated.
Jane Ellison (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health; Battersea, Conservative)
Since 2011, the conditions for the grants provided to Action on Smoking and Health under the Department of Health’s “Section 64 General Scheme of Grants to voluntary and Community Organisations” arrangements have explicitly set out that none of the funding provided by the Department should be intended or used for political lobbying or campaigning purposes.
Advocacy work in support of the implementation of existing Government Tobacco Control policies and programmes of work is acceptable.Hmm, interesting. So it seems that using government funds to shout "huzzah!" about government policy is considered to be fantastic use of taxpayer cash, apparently. Personally, I find that quite corrupt in and of itself, but hey ho.
More to the point, though, is the first paragraph of Ellison's response. It states categorically that no funding from the DoH should be used for political lobbying or campaigning, something that ASH exists solely to do.
I'm sure they will claim that cash they receive elsewhere is used for campaigning, whereas the Section 64 money is only used to shout "huzzah!" at every infantilising pronouncement from Westminster. But unless they have many separate bank accounts for storing income from different sources (a child's starter account would do for donations from the public, such is ASH's definition of 'charity') it all goes in the same pot, I expect.
All of which begs the question why government funds them at all. Surely the best way for politicians to keep their hands clean and be free of accusations of foul play would be to cut Debs and her mates off without a penny. Then, and only then, would the stench of corrupt use of our money go away, doncha think?
Keep on pushing Philip, we're all behind you.