Liberal Democrat Scottish Affairs spokesperson Jamie Stone has today questioned the Government on payments made by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to Hacker House, a company run by Jennifer Arcuri.
According to DCMS, the grant is for initiatives that are “based and operate” in Britain, but Hacker House is based at Arcuri’s home in Los Angeles.
The Sunday Times reported that Arcuri’s companies had received places on trade visits, sponsorship money and other preferential treatment by the Greater London Authority whilst the current Prime Minister was Mayor of London. The newspaper reports that Arcuri is a personal friend of the Prime Minister.
Speaking in the House of Commons Mr Stone said:
“There are a great number of people trying to get start-up businesses off the ground and to these people a grant would be hugely welcome.
“Can the Secretary of State see that the impression of money being doshed out to mates is corrosive to public confidence in the grants system and that in turn is damaging to the reputation of any government?”
Commenting after the urgent question, Mr Stone said:
“People and businesses must have confidence in the systems in place to promote and support small businesses.
"The Prime Minister has once again shown his lack of concern for due diligence and he must be held to account for his actions.
“The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport needs to be scrutinised on how it checks whether companies are eligible for Government grants and there must be practices in place to ensure no one is able to hand out grants on the basis of friendship.”