Scotland’s leading fund-raising body has warned charities to beware of undeclared donations from the British National Party after a number of good causes claimed they were duped into accepting money from the far-right group.
The Institute of Fundraising Scotland (IFS) said that suspicious donors should be vetted after the BNP was accused of giving to charities under false pretences.
The BNP website claims it has given funds to charities including the Gurkha Welfare Trust, the Down’s Syndrome Association and Troop Aid. However, the charities say they have never knowingly accepted money from the party. They believe the money was given by individuals who did not declare their BNP affiliation. They intend to ask the BNP to remove any reference to them from its website.
The BNP’s supposed charitable work emerged after its Scottish branch said it had donated money to a Lanarkshire-based charity for ex-servicemen.
The IFS said organisations should be wary of BNP activities. “We would advise charities to ask questions if they have any suspicions about an individual,” said a spokesman. “If an individual raises money from the public and donates it to a charity without being open about their link to the BNP then that would be in breach of one of our codes.”
Colonel William Shuttlewood, a director of the Gurkha Welfare Trust, said it would never knowingly accept money from the BNP. He said: “We are very firmly a non-political organisation and we want to keep it that way, especially when Gurkhas themselves are a political issue.”
The BNP also claimed it had raised more than £4,000 for Troop Aid, which supports injured service personnel. Al Sutton, chairman of Troop Aid, said: “We are not associated with any political party, especially the BNP.”
The Down’s Syndrome Association denied a claim on the BNP website that it had asked the party to help it raise funds.
Last month the BNP said it had given money to FEBA, a Scottish veterans charity. Tommy Moffat, the charity’s founder, said he did not know he was dealing with the BNP when he was approached. He felt he had to accept the money as his organisation was in dire need.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator advised charities to decline donations that might conflict with their work.
John Walker, a spokesman for the BNP, said: “The money is raised by individual BNP members sometimes at party meetings but it is not party money. They are donating as private individuals. The BNP supports these charities and we are just trying to raise money among our membership for them.”