Drayson Foundation

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The Drayson Foundation is a registered charity (Charity no. 1076700) operating in England and Wales.[1] It was founded in 1999 and states its charitable objectives as:

The relief of sickness in such ways as the trustees may from time to tome determine but in particular by making grants, gifts or loans to statutory health and welfare services. The advancement of education of young persons and adults by the provision of scholarships, exhibitions, grants and allowances to students or prospective students at any educational establishment and in such other ways as the trustees may from time to time determine and such other purposes in any part of the world being exclusively charitable according to the law of England and Wales as the trustees may from time to time determine.[2]

Tax Avoidance Controversy

In 2006 an article by Andrew Gilligan in the Evening Standard accused the Grayson Foundation of being part of a tax avoidance scheme working on behalf of its founder, Paul Drayson.

A controversial Labour minister responsible for spending [pounds sterling]6billion a year of taxpayers' money is taking part in a multi-million pound tax avoidance scheme, the Evening Standard can reveal.
Lord Drayson, the defence procurement minister, has set up a personal charity, the Drayson Foundation, with himself, his wife and his solicitor as the only trustees and himself as the only donor.
Over its six-year existence the minister has donated more than [pounds sterling]5 million of his personal income to the charity but it has paid only about a quarter of that to good causes.
This is far less than the average for charities of its type.
The Drayson Foundation made a donation to good causes of [pounds sterling]1.2 million in 1999 and two further donations of [pounds sterling]250,000 in 2003 and last year. But in all the other years it paid out only tiny amounts.
In 2003-4, according to accounts lodged with the Charity Commission, the Drayson Foundation received more than [pounds sterling]2million from Lord Drayson but paid out just [pounds sterling]900 to good causes.
Much of its money was invested in stocks and shares, including, in previous years, substantial amounts in the minister's own biotech company, PowderJect.
Lord Drayson's solicitor, Clare Maurice, said: "It's perfectly acceptable for trustees to hang on to the money and spend it in one fell swoop. There are no rules saying you have to spend money every year."
However, she said that the Drayson Foundation was "not considering any current proposals" for spending the money.
Accountants said that the Drayson Foundation would have allowed Lord Drayson to save more than [pounds sterling]500,000 in personal income tax in 2003-4 alone and more than [pounds sterling]1 million over the life of the charity.
Ian Miles, a charity tax specialist with accountancy firm Grant Thornton, said: "If you have a big personal tax bill you can mitigate it by this means.
"If you put money into a charity, the charity can reclaim a further 28 per cent from the Government, turning a [pounds sterling]1 donation into [pounds sterling]1.28. If you are a higher-rate taxpayer, you then get full higher-rate relief [18 per cent] on the whole amount."[3]



The Drayson Foundation was a donor to the Science Media Centre in 2004, 2007 and 2012.[4]


Mrs Clare Mary Maurice,
15Th Floor,
Milton House,
Milton Street,
London, EC2Y 9BH
Tel: 020 7786 8710


  1. 'Drayson Foundation profile', Open Charities, accessed 8 July 2016.
  2. 'Charitable Objectives', Charity Commission, accessed 8 July 2016.
  3. Andrew Gilligan, 'Tycoon Labour Minister and His [Pounds Sterling1m Tax-Saving Charity'], The Evening Standard, 13 February 2006. Accessed 13 July 2016.
  4. Data from Internet Archive holdings of the Science Media Centre website, 2002-2013