Michael Hintze, a leading Conservative party donor who runs the £5bn hedge fund CQS, has emerged as a financial backer of the climate sceptic thinktank founded by former chancellor, Lord Nigel Lawson.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation, launched by Lawson in 2009, regularly casts doubt on the science and cost of tackling climate change in the media and has called on climate scientists to show greater transparency, but has refused to reveal details of its donors. Leading Nasa climate scientist James Hansen calls it “one link in a devious manipulation of public opinion [regarding climate change].”
On Monday, Downing Street was forced to reveal that Hintze was among the leading Tory donors who were invited to privately dine with David Cameron at a “thank you” dinner following the general election in 2010. The revelation that Hintze, who has also donated £1.5m to the Tory party, is connected with climate change scepticism will be an embarassment for David Cameron, who has pledged to lead the “greenest government ever”.
A long-running Freedom of Information request by the investigative journalist Brendon Montague, which was supported by Hansen, to force the Charity Commission to reveal the identity of the thinktank’s seed donor was recently rejected by a judge at the Information Rights Tribunal. The judge commented, however, that she found it “rather surprising” that the GWPF claims to have significant influence over policymakers when it is registered as an educational charity. According to the Charity Commission, educational charities cannot “exist for a political purpose.” This, she said, was a matter for the Charity Commission to investigate, not the tribunal.
Montague added: “Lord Lawson must now recognise there is a public interest in him being transparent about the funding of the GWPF. The Charity Commission should investigate the political nature of his climate sceptic think tank which campaigns for a change in government policy while being part funded by Tory party donors. How can the public take Lawson’s demand for transparency [of climate scientists] seriously when he has been so secretive about his own funding?”
£28,000 for 70 MPs to receive iPads on expenses.
Dozens of MPs have received iPads on expenses – at a cost to taxpayers of at least £28,000. And today a committee will decide whether all parliamentarians should be issued them, in a move that could cost £250,000. Freedom of Information requests have revealed that 70 MPs have received the tablet computers, which sell for between £400 and £650.
‘Kinship’ carers get cold shoulder from the state
Requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) find half of local authorities have no kinship care policy, reports the Times. Relatives who look after children to prevent them being taken into care are left to “fend for themselves” with little help from the state, research by the Times newspaper has found. A study into children in kinship care has found that, whilst foster carers receive weekly allowances to pay for children’s upkeep, kinship carers receive done.
Using FoIA, the study also found that, despite a government request, around 50% of local authorities do not have a kinship care policy.