We have just made a big decision. Cheltenham Liberal Democrats were eligible for a grant as part of the Conservative government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.
It’s not everyday we get offered £10,000. As a party run by volunteers and funded by donations from our members rather than big business or the unions, we are usually glad of the offer of any extra funds. But we said no. Here’s why.
The reason is quite simple: we don’t think these grants should be available for political parties (even though the rules allow it). We think that any available money should be used to help people, charities and businesses in need.
Of course, we know that our opponents always have more cash than us. And we know that they might choose to take these grants. Within the rules set out by the government, MPs can claim a £10,000 allowance to enable staff to work from home.
But our judgement is that it would have been morally wrong to take the grant offered to us, as much as we need the money.
However, if you run a business or group in Cheltenham and haven’t looked into claiming the grant, we really think you should. So please do visit this link to find out if you’re eligible. If you’re eligible for small business rates relief, you’re in with a good chance of qualifying for a grant.