Council refuses to disclose how anti-terrorism cash was spent

Date published: 25 September 2009

Rochdale Council has refused to disclose information on how Government money for the Prevention for Violent Extremism has been distributed in Rochdale.

The Government introduced Prevention for Violent Extremism money to tackle ‘radicalisation’ as part of its counter terrorism strategy.

The Government promised £45 million to local authorities over three years as PVE grants, allocated to those Councils with Muslim populations of more than 5%.

The Tax payer’s alliance, an independent body who research where tax payers money is being spent by the government, issued Freedom of Information requests to compile data on where local authorities were spending their PVE cash. A report listed all the organisations that had received PVE funding in the last two years from their local councils.
Rochdale Council was the only council who refused to release the information on spending, saying that there would be ‘Commercial Detriment to a Third Party’. An appeal was submitted in May asking why the Council refused to submit the details. The Council has yet to respond to that appeal.

In 2007/08, qualifying Councils received money through the ‘Pathfinder’ fund, and each local authority was then able to devise its own plan for how to use the money; of which £12 million has so far been given out by local authorities to fund community groups through Prevent projects.

It is believed that Rochdale Council received £100,000 in PVE money.

A spokesperson for Rochdale Council said: “We originally withheld a small amount of the requested information as we believed it could prejudice the commercial interests of our partners. In light of other council’s decisions we are currently reviewing our position, with a view to whether or not we will release the requested additional information.”

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