Gagging clauses to muzzle charities
CHARITIES have been made to sign gagging clauses pledging not to damage Esther McVey’s reputation over universal credit.
At least 22 organisations – covering contracts worth £1.8billion – have had to sign as they help with programmes getting the jobless into work.
Officials at the Department for Work and Pensions denied they were “gagging clauses” intended to prevent criticism of ministers or their policies, insisting they were just “standard procedure”.
However a spokesman confirmed the contracts did have references to ensure both parties “understand how to interact with each other and protect their best interests”.
According to The Times, the signatories must undertake to “pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” of Ms McVey, the Secretary of State.
And they must “not do anything which may attract adverse publicity” to her, damage her reputation, or harm the public’s confidence in her, the paper said.
Labour Shadow Disabilities Minister Marsha De Cordova said: “The Tories have tried to gag criticism of universal credit. The truth is it’s going to make people worse off.”