A businessman who donated £1.65m to the Labour Party is also a major trustee of a charity which has funded the Taxpayers' Alliance to the tune of over million pounds since 2008.
A businessman who donated £1.65m to the Labour Party is also a major trustee of a charity which has funded the Taxpayers’ Alliance to the tune of over million pounds since 2008.
Shopping magnate John Mills recently gave Labour shares worth £1.6m in his shopping channel company JML – a more tax-efficient way of contributing to the party.
However according to the charity commission Mills is one of four trustees who sit on the Politics and Economics Research Trust, a charity which since 2008 has given £1.2m to the Taxpayers’ Alliance.
The others trustees are Patrick Barbour, Peter Brown and Richard Smith.
Other donations made by the Politics and Economics Research Trust were to the New Culture Forum, a right-wing group formed to combat the so-called ‘liberal establishment’, and the Centre for Policy Studies, a think tank which promotes the privatisation of public services.
In 2008 the trust donated £265,000 to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, £6,500 to the New Culture Forum and £5,000 to the Drivers’ Alliance (a group set up to campaign against road pricing). In 2009 the trust donated £240,000 to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, followed by £325,000 in 2010 and £395,000 in 2011.
Responding, John Mills told Left Foot Forward the following:
“The Politics and Economics Research Trust funds high quality publications from a number of campaign groups and think tanks, many of which I don’t agree with politically. I have only ever voted in favour of research projects that I thought were worth doing in their own right, regardless of the policies they were designed to criticise.
“I passionately believe in a vibrant political debate outside Parliament and I have written for many groups from Civitas to the Economic Research Council to the Fabian Society. Encouraging policy debate is crucial, which I why I am happy to be a Trustee of a cross-party educational research charity.”
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