A VETERANS’ charity which allegedly has links to the far-right BNP has been warned to stay away from the Capital after organising a “weekend of action”.
Soldiers off the Street Scotland (SoS) is staging a two-day event in August, spending the night on the streets to “raise awareness of homeless ex-service personnel” and holding a collection the following day.
The group – which has previously been banned from holding fundraising events in the Capital – will begin their tour by first attending the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
But Craigentinny/ Duddingston councillor Alex Lunn has vowed to spread the message that the charity should be avoided.
He told the Evening News: “I would urge all people, whether Edinburgh residents or tourists, to avoid this group and avoid giving them money.”
SoS claims on its website to have “no affiliation with any political party whatsoever”, but has been criticised for its alleged links with the BNP.
The English branch of the charity was reportedly set up by Hugh William “Bill” Murray, the BNP’s former secretary for Wales, once a close associate of the party’s leader, Nick Griffin.
The charity, which was given charitable status in August 2010, says it provides “clothing, food and rehabilitation, including advice on post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, drug abuse, housing and employment”.
Cllr Lunn said: “Very few people in the BNP have any military service, but this seems like the type of thing that they will try and play on.
“The BNP in any form are not welcome in our country – they are not welcome in Edinburgh and they are certainly are not welcome in fundraising or campaigning at an international military event like the Tattoo.”
But the charity’s Scottish co-ordinator, Walter Hamilton, denied the claims. He said: “I have nothing to do with a political party, and Soldiers off the Streets is open to anyone. I don’t understand where these claims come from and why some people would rather see veterans lying in the street rather than helping them.”
Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that the force had submitted a written objection to the city council following an application by an organisation to collect charitable donations between November and December 2011.
The convener of the city council’s regulatory committee, Councillor Gavin Barrie, said: “The council has issued a permit to this charity to carry out fundraising activities on the August 11 and 12.
“However, if we find that new information has since come to light we will carry out a further investigation and, if legally possible, withdraw this permit.”
A spokesman for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo said the charity would not be involved in the event.