New TPA Research: Where Foreign Office Prevent grants go, and why they should be abolished

August 06, 2010 1:01 AM

In September 2009 the TaxPayers’ Alliance revealed for the first time the type of groups and organisations to which local authority ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’ (PVE) grants were going. The Government has now decided to adopt our position and abolish these grants.

However, Prevent – part of the broader Contest Strategy – is cross-departmental and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also give out grants. This research shows for the first time how the FCO distributed these funds in 2007-08 and 2008-09. The results show a marked shift of focus away from the other strands of Contest to Prevent. The Government should scrap the entire Prevent Strategy and focus on sound policing and intelligence to stop violent extremism.


Click here to read the full report



Key Findings:

  • The FCO awarded £10.5 million in 2008-09 in Prevent grants specifically – 74 per cent of the total money given out in Contest grants (£14.2 million).



  • This represents a massive shift in focus towards Prevent, away from the other strands of Contest. In 2007-08, the FCO awarded £194,031 in Prevent grants – just 5.7 per cent of the total money given out in Contest grants (£3.4 million).



  • The Westminster Foundation carried out a project under Prevent entitled “Sensitising MPs [not in the UK] and Empowering Youth”.



  • The BBC received more than £200,000 for a Prevent project.



  • Prevent money was spent on projects like a “mobile cinema for justice”.



  • There is still of lack of accountability over where Prevent grants go. The FCO refused to provide pertinent information on four grounds: Defence; Information Provided in Confidence; International Relations; and Health and Safety.



Matthew Sinclair, Research Director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“While it’s encouraging to see the Department for Communities and Local Government ditch the scheme, millions more are being spent by the Foreign Office. Again, taxpayers’ money has been given to dubious projects and there is little accountability for this spend. The scheme is unpopular with all community groups and has poor results – far too much money has been spent and what is no more than an expensive social experiment. The Government now needs to scrap the entire Prevent strategy and focus instead on our police and intelligence services to prevent violent extremism.”

For further comments, media enquiries  and to arrange broadcast interviews, please contact:
Fiona McEvoy, Grassroots Manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance, on
07736 274 704 or at fiona.mcevoy@taxpayersalliance.com

To discuss the research and methodology, please contact:
Matthew Sinclair, Research Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, on
07771 990 174 or at matthew.sinclair@taxpayersalliance.com


Notes to editors

1) The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) is Britain's independent, non-partisan campaign for lower taxes and better services. Founded in 2004, it has over 55,000 supporters nationwide.
2) The full report can be found online here: http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/fcoprevent.pdfIn September 2009 the TaxPayers’ Alliance revealed for the first time the type of groups and organisations to which local authority ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’ (PVE) grants were going. The Government has now decided to adopt our position and abolish these grants.

However, Prevent – part of the broader Contest Strategy – is cross-departmental and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also give out grants. This research shows for the first time how the FCO distributed these funds in 2007-08 and 2008-09. The results show a marked shift of focus away from the other strands of Contest to Prevent. The Government should scrap the entire Prevent Strategy and focus on sound policing and intelligence to stop violent extremism.


Click here to read the full report



Key Findings:

  • The FCO awarded £10.5 million in 2008-09 in Prevent grants specifically – 74 per cent of the total money given out in Contest grants (£14.2 million).



  • This represents a massive shift in focus towards Prevent, away from the other strands of Contest. In 2007-08, the FCO awarded £194,031 in Prevent grants – just 5.7 per cent of the total money given out in Contest grants (£3.4 million).



  • The Westminster Foundation carried out a project under Prevent entitled “Sensitising MPs [not in the UK] and Empowering Youth”.



  • The BBC received more than £200,000 for a Prevent project.



  • Prevent money was spent on projects like a “mobile cinema for justice”.



  • There is still of lack of accountability over where Prevent grants go. The FCO refused to provide pertinent information on four grounds: Defence; Information Provided in Confidence; International Relations; and Health and Safety.



Matthew Sinclair, Research Director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“While it’s encouraging to see the Department for Communities and Local Government ditch the scheme, millions more are being spent by the Foreign Office. Again, taxpayers’ money has been given to dubious projects and there is little accountability for this spend. The scheme is unpopular with all community groups and has poor results – far too much money has been spent and what is no more than an expensive social experiment. The Government now needs to scrap the entire Prevent strategy and focus instead on our police and intelligence services to prevent violent extremism.”

For further comments, media enquiries  and to arrange broadcast interviews, please contact:
Fiona McEvoy, Grassroots Manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance, on
07736 274 704 or at fiona.mcevoy@taxpayersalliance.com

To discuss the research and methodology, please contact:
Matthew Sinclair, Research Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, on
07771 990 174 or at matthew.sinclair@taxpayersalliance.com


Notes to editors

1) The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) is Britain's independent, non-partisan campaign for lower taxes and better services. Founded in 2004, it has over 55,000 supporters nationwide.
2) The full report can be found online here: http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/fcoprevent.pdf

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