Surprise, surprise

We’ve known for a while about fake charities, various blogs and groups have highlighted their activities over the years there’s even a fakecharity site, which appears no longer to be regularly updated, but the information it contains is still valid.

Still, the numbers shown there only appear to be the tip of the iceberg as a report shows…

Mail.

Thousands of charities are barely disguised fronts for state-backed campaigns, a report warned yesterday.
It said 27,000 groups rely on the taxpayer for more than 75 per cent of their income – with individual donors providing less than half the funding for the entire voluntary sector.
Many of the charities lobby for the pet causes of politicians, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs. The environment, public health, foreign aid, inequality and women’s rights are areas that have been ‘particularly blessed’.
Christopher Snowdon, the report’s author, said government departments should be banned from using public money for advertising campaigns and called for the abolition of unrestricted grants to charities. ‘Government funding of politically active charities, non-governmental organisations and pressure groups is objectionable,’ his study said.
‘Firstly, it subverts democracy and debases the concept of charity. Secondly, it is an unnecessary and wasteful use of taxpayers’ money.
‘Thirdly, by funding like-minded organisations and ignoring others, genuine civil society is cold-shouldered in the political process.’
The IEA said that charities such as the School Food Trust – created by the Department of Education following Jamie Oliver’s school dinners campaign – act as ‘special advisers to the Government and are essentially part of the bureaucracy’.

Dear Lord, 27,000? I knew it was bad, but I would never have guessed that it was quite so many suckling at the taxpayer teat. To my mind, it’s not the job of the government to be giving my money away to any special interest group, if I want to donate to them I will and the vast majority of the groups represented quite frankly deserve to go to the wall. You have Alcohol Concern, ASH, Smokefree NorthWest, Smokefree North East, D-Myst, etc. ASH is one of the most powerful fake ‘charities’ in the land and directly dictates Government policy yet only raises £11,000 in direct donations. Yet, genuine charities like the RNLI get nothing (nor I suspect do they want government support)

The real reason though is that politicians have slipped so far down in the trust league that any initiatives they start are now held in extreme suspicion, so they opted for ‘trusted’ charities to try and tell us what to do. Judging by some of the causes supported, it’s fairly obvious that the political classes still haven’t a clue about what people want, which is mostly less of the political classes telling us what to do. Nor do they see anything wrong with throwing our cash at a ‘good’ cause. ‘Good’ causes being anything that fits their ideas on what we should be made to do, without actually being any proof of doing good at all, merely hectoring us to change our ways.

There are some who believe that any ‘charity’ that receives government funding should lose its charitable status and a little health warning tagged onto their name when they make a pronouncement, something like “Paid by the UK government to tell you what to do.”

The best idea though is to simply give them nothing at all, let them stand on their own feet by public subscription/donation. I rather think most will go under.

6 comments for “Surprise, surprise

  1. Mudplugger
    June 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I agree with the principle of giving them nothing to see if they survive, but without legislation, that would merely mean government gives them even more of our involuntary money to keep the propaganda show on the road.

    The concept of a ‘charity’ is flawed, it is a multi-headed beast. At one level you have hospices, raising funds for excellent terminal care (which the NHS should actually be providing) – but, in practice, the NHS actually funds many of their staff, so they are one of the ‘government aided charities’. Is that wrong ?

    The NHS does not fund helicopter ambulance services, but it does fund the road-based ones – yet it throws vast amounts away doing cosmetic operations, multiple abortions, tattoo-removals, unnecessary IVF treatments etc. Why should a practical ambulance service need to be a charity, when everyone in the country is a potential user ? (Thus different from the RNLI, whose users are limited to the maritime community – this could always be funded by a boat levy).

    Then there’s private education. Many schools have charitable status which conveys tax-benefits, although most of their money is raised through fees, rather than gifts, endowments etc. Some find that inappropriate. But every child educated in the private sector saves the government more than £100,000, and that’s far more than the trivial tax-benefits. Is that wrong ?

    And we won’t even raise the topic of stonkingly affluent religions enjoying charitable status – you know who you are.

    The only answer is a complete review of the structural definition of ‘Charity’. It should only apply to an activity which the State does not fund. Then the only argument would be about whether the State should fund it an, once it does, the State funds it completely and any charitable label is immediately removed. That way, Joe Public would get what it says on the tin.

  2. ReefKnot
    June 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    What concerns me most is that many of these fake charities spend much of their energies in campaigning and lobbying which to my mind are not charitable activities. Charitable activities include providing orphanges, running hospices, rescuing drowning sailors and flying the injured to hospital and the like. Many worthy and real charities run on public donations and standing on street corners rattling tins e.g RNLI, Air Ambulance. Also they are staffed by unpaid volunteers. If you look at the fake charities, many are funded largely by the taxpayer ( sometimes huge amounts ) either directly or by convoluted means indirectly or sometimes they fund each other. And what’s more, they all seem to have a Chief Exective Officer earning a good salary. That these organisations have charitable status is not really the point at issue although there is the matter of not paying tax. The real bugbear is that the taxpayer is funding them to campaign and lobby about issues which the public generally do not support, as would be easily proved by removing the taxpayer subsidies and letting these organisations stand on street corners and run jumble sales like real charities have to. Then see how much support they would have. If their causes really are worthy, the public will be more than happy to donate and we would not have cause to complain.

  3. Chris
    June 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I only contribute to local charities now. I know the money is going to help local people.
    Government is too ‘busy’ to worry about what actually concerns ‘the people’.

  4. Mintee
    June 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    The Institute of Economic Affairs itself is a charity. They seem to be pretty reticent as to who funds them.

  5. Maaarrghk!
    June 12, 2012 at 5:51 am

    These days I am particularly careful when asked to part with money for childrens charities – the last thing I want my money spending on is the promotion of anti-smacking nuttery.

  6. June 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

    What concerns me most is that many of these fake charities spend much of their energies in campaigning and lobbying which to my mind are not charitable activities.

    Exactly.

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