Sussex MP raised ‘serious concerns’ about troubled Kids Company

MP Tim Loughton
MP Tim Loughton

Sussex MP Tim Loughton raised ‘serious concerns’ about the sustainability of a charity forced to close this week while he was children’s minister.

Kids Company closed yesterday, a week after the Government awarded the charity a £3million grant, against the reported advice of a senior civil servant who warned they did not think it would be ‘value for money’.

The charity said it had folded because it could not find a sustainable source of income, not poor financial management as had been alleged.

Mr Loughton told the Today programme he had advised about another grant when he was children’s minister and was ‘never convinced’ of its sustainability.

Speaking to the Herald today, the East Worthing and Shoreham MP said: “This week’s news about Kids Company is very sad and the first priority must be to make sure that support is available from other sources for the vulnerable kids previously helped by the charity.

“No one doubts the passion and drive of Camila Batmanghelidjh and her army of employees and volunteers. However, there have been questions about the way the charity organises itself for some years and when (millions of pounds) of public funds are involved it is essential that the taxpayer can see we are getting value for money and an effective and sustainable service for those children who need to be helped.

“There are over 70,000 charities supporting children and families alone and obviously many of them would like to be able to benefit from this level of public funding, not just Kids Company. That is why when I was Children’s Minister I raised concerns about funding the charity at this level but in the end the decision was taken out of the hands of ministers at The DfE”.

The organisation works with 36,000 vulnerable children and young people, and officials, charities and councils have been in discussions preparing for the impact the closure could have.

The high-profile charity has been shaken by claims it has not properly managed its finances.

It received the £3million grant from the Cabinet Office last week after agreeing, on the orders of the Government, to make changes in its leadership, management and governance.

But Ms Batmanghelidjh emailed staff within the charity last week to say they would be paid using some of the grant money, according to the BBC.

A statement on the charity’s website read: “It is with the greatest sadness and reluctance that we have reached the decision to close Kids Company.

“We have been forced to do so because collectively, despite the extraordinary efforts of Camila and her team, some truly enlightened philanthropists and the government, we have not been able to continue.”

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