Eric Pickles ceases ‘sponsorship’ of the Muslim Council of Britain and its associated bodies
8 Mar 2011 : Column 952WThese figures refer to spending under Labour. Please don’t ask about the £2,500 of taxpayers’ money for one table at the MCB’s leadership dinner: it must have been halal caviar.
Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what individual payments his Department made to (a) the Muslim Council of Britain and (b) its associated bodies in each of the last three years; and for what purpose in each case.
Andrew Stunell: The Department for Communities and Local Government provided £2,500 to the Muslim Council of Britain for a guest table at the council leadership dinner held on 22 February 2010. DCLG has not provided any further funding to the Muslim Council of Britain for the organisation to undertake work or projects.
For an interim period, funding for the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) was routed through the council as one of MINAB's founding members as MINAB had not then acquired independent charitable status, and as a result did not have its own bank account. Funding for MINAB was made directly to them as soon as they became an independent organisation. The funding was to support them to improve standards in mosques (£116,000 in 2008-09 and £58,000 in 2009-10).
Muslim Council of Britain has a large and wide ranging national membership of organisations that are affiliated to it. Of these, DCLG has funded the following organisations through the Community Leadership Fund:Muslim Youth Helpline-£30,650 (2008-09), £61,888 (2009-10), £64,767 (2010-11) to build their capacity to extend the reach of their support services to vulnerable young people,
Karimia Institute-£67,180 (2008-09), £50,000 (2009-10), £50,000 (2010-11) for youth leadership training.
Islamic Society of Britain-£20,000 (2008-09) for developing the Islamic Awareness Week website to promote positive understanding of Islam to other communities.
Young Muslims UK-£20,000 (2008-09), £5,000 (2009-10) to promote talent among young Muslims
Muslim Aid-£5,000 (2009-10) for part-sponsorship of Muslim Aid's 25th Anniversary.
The Department for Communities and Local Government was doubtless happy to answer Andrew Griffiths’ question in the new spirit of transparency. Under Eric Pickles, the DCLG does not meet with the MCB at all and the department has stopped the sponsorship of such awards/dinner events across the board. There is some legacy spend on MINAB in 2010-11, but that was unavoidable as it was one of Labour’s blank cheques (signed in April 2010!).
His Grace is delighted that all DCLG spending over £500 is now available for scrutiny online.
He is also delighted by the new direction taken by the Conservatives at the helm of this department, exemplified in support for the ‘Near Neighbours’ initiative with the Church of England, which didn’t happen under Labour.
It is good to know that this department is now investing in those organisations which foster peace and community cohesion, and not in those which promote division and cause sectarian strife. Another three cheers for Eric Pickles.