Robert Edmiston

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Robert Norman Edmiston, Baron Edmiston (born 6 October 1946) is a British motor trade entrepreneur based in the West Midlands who has established a number of religious and educational charities, including Christian Vision.

Bob Edmiston became a millionaire through his companies IM Group, a car importer, and IM Properties. In 1974 he was finance director at sports car manufacturer Jensen Motors, and used a £6,000 redundancy payout when the company went bankrupt to set up International Motors, which acquired the UK franchise for Subaru and Isuzu cars. He later branched out into property and vehicle finance. In the Sunday Times Rich List 2013 ranking of the wealthiest people in the UK, he was placed 209th with an estimated fortune of £440 million.[1] IM Group is now managed by his son, Andrew Edmiston.

Charitable activities[edit]

Edmiston is an Evangelical Christian and has made large donations to charities which he has established.

In 1988, he founded Christian Vision,[2] a large international evangelical charity, based in Coleshill, Warwickshire, near Birmingham.

Education[edit]

Edmiston is the sponsor of three secondary schools within the English academy programme. Edmiston paid £2m to sponsor each academy and is Chair of Governors.

On 20 August 2013, the academies were among schools named by The Independent newspaper and the British Humanist Association as adopting policies similar in wording to the repealed anti-gay legislation Section 28, which has since been modified to incorporate current legislation.[citation needed]

(Grace Academy (Coventry)[3] and Grace Academy (Solihull)[4]) and Grace Academy Darlaston follow a Christian ethos that pervades Academy life.[5] Grace Academy is about educating the whole person and there are many excellent examples, such as Values Days, business workshops and community projects.

Working closely with the Department of Education, Grace Academy has been proactive in engaging national leaders in education and outstanding head teachers from other schools. Each Grace Academy also partners with outstanding schools, particularly in the subjects of English and maths to ensure excellent standards are retained.

Edmiston and the Academies have had considerable press coverage that has at times distorted the true picture.[6]

Grace Academy declares all its related party activities in its annual accounts, which are audited and scrutinised independently each year, and any related activities are transparent and declared correctly.[7]

All goods and services are purchased by Grace Academy in accordance with the requirements of the Academies Finance Handbook issued by the Education Funding Agency.

Politics[edit]

He has been a long-term supporter of the Conservative Party and has made numerous donations to them over the last 25 years amounting to millions of pounds. He is a founder of the Midlands Industrial Council which organises funding for the Conservative Party.

In 2005 The Times reported that he was on a list of proposed new working peers; however the Inland Revenue opposed this appointment as a peer because of a tax dispute with IM Group Limited, which was subsequently settled.

On 19 November 2010 it was announced that Edmiston is to be created a Life Peer. He sits as a Conservative in the House of Lords,[8] with the title (created 14 January 2011) Baron Edmiston, of Lapworth in the County of Warwickshire.[9][10] In the House of Lords debate on gay marriage on 3 June 2013, Lord Edmiston opposed gay marriage.

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