What should a charity do?

Many charities do good work, helping people who need support and assistance.Educational charities provide some great education and assist the many who cannot afford fees where payment is required. Health and wellbeing charities offer the extras beyond those that can be afforded from the NHS and benefits system.

There are some other charities that see part of their role to be as a campaign organisation to press a government to do things. This is a more questionable use of charitable donations and the tax exemptions that go with them. Political parties and political think tanks cannot claim charitable exemption from tax. A think tank that wants tax exemption has to demonstrate party political neutrality and an emphasis on education and independence of view.

There is also a divide over money. Many good and successful charities have built up endowments. This enables them to maintain a decent and usually rising rate of spending, without having to raise money to pay the monthly bills.Other charities live hand to mouth, establishing large support organisations with people drawing salaries that requires continuous fund raising to pay the bills. In some cases it encourages aggressive techniques to get the money to meet the salaries of the staff raising the money. Sometimes well endowed charities get criticised for being “ rich” which seems odd. Given that all the money is held as a fund to pay future benefits to qualifying people and causes, surely it is good news that this has been guaranteed for future years by using the endowment model.

There is a growng concern about the charitable model that employs large nunmbers of well paid staff to fund raise and to demand that the government does something about their chosen area.Charities can attract a lot of volunteer talent or able people who understand rates of pay for a CEO of a charity will be lower than for a CEO of a competitive private sector business.

Charities also have to be careful not to compete using their tax free status as a competitve advantage against struggling private sector smaller businesses.


  1. Roy Grainger
    September 28, 2018

    You fail to mention that big charities like Oxfam are paid money directly from the government despite the fact they campaign against it taking an exclusively left-wing position. It is an odd situation.

    1. Richard1
      October 5, 2018

      This is a major issue. A number of the best known charities receive a large proportion – even a majority – of their income from the Govt. They then campaign openly for certain policies as JR says. Such political activity should be outside the scope of ‘charities’. If they want to be political they should be funded privately and not have the tax breaks of charities, like any other pressure group or think tank. If they want Govt money, they need to be non political. I would give them a choice between being ‘charities’, and raising all mossy privately, or not taking any private money and just becoming departments of the Govt.

      1. Richard1
        October 5, 2018

        Off topic: could those who wrote into this site asserting that Unilever’s (rightly criticised) decision to abandon their London listing and HQ was a sign of the negative consequences of Brexit now kindly write in and acknowledge that the reversal of this (bad) decision must, logically, be a vote of confidence in Brexit UK? Thanks in advance.

        1. Mark B
          October 6, 2018

          We are not leaving.

    2. ian wragg
      October 5, 2018

      I strongly object to government money being given to so called charities and then using the money to lobby for more of the same.
      Many of the larger “charities” spend less that 10% of income actually fulfilling their nameplate activities. vast sums spent on CEO’s and staff, company cars and housing all out of gullible citizens contribution.
      I see May is now about to try and keep the whole of the UK in the Customs Union although it will be a Customs Union with the EU.
      As the EU is basically a Customs Union and as she intends keeping us in the Single Market although named “Common Rule Book” it appear we now don’t even have BRINO we just have REMAIN>
      Job done.
      How many clowns in Westminster will vote for this arrangement.
      It is also reported that the EU pension liability has risen £12 billion during the last year and we are expected to fund 25% of it.
      The EU employs 7% UK staff but we are responsible for 25% of the payments. How come.

    3. Lifelogic.
      October 5, 2018

      Well the T May/ P Hammond government are really a quite left wing government indeed. They have given us highest taxes for 40+ years, wage controls, price controls, endless market interventions, a virtual state monopoly in health, education, gender pay gap drivel, often corrupt overseas aid, a massive state (and largely unproductive) state sector, very restrictive employment laws, attack on the gig economy, very anti-jobs and anti-business, pushing more subsidised council houses, endless greencrap and green crap subsidies, a mad energy policy….. they are almost as economically illiterate as Corbyn/Mc Donnall.

      Certainly well to the left of Blair.

    4. Andy
      October 5, 2018

      Not wanting people to die or suffer is not an ‘exclusively left-wing’ position.

      It is an ‘exclusively decent human-being’ position.

      1. NickC
        October 5, 2018

        Andy, Roy Grainger did not say what you claim he says. As usual you cannot stick to the facts.

      2. Anonymous
        October 5, 2018

        Sounds like you have plenty of spare to give, Andy.

        Gawan then. Get giving.

    5. rose
      October 5, 2018

      They don’t just campaign against the government: they campaign and act against the interests of the country, their country.

    September 28, 2018

    This is simply another example of the parasitic nature of New Labour’s client state construction. The primary aim is to generate employment and income for liberal left acolytes using the guise of charity and compassion. It is deceitful and the most appalling abuse of other peoples suffering

    Many of these charities and indeed think tanks are also political pressure groups of the left and left leaning who constantly bombard government and the State with reasons as to why taxpayers money should be spent in a particular area.

    All of this helps to spread their influence across a wide area. And when the do secure public funding the precedent is then set for many fruitful years of cushy employment for Labour voting, liberal left types at our expense

    It defies belief that the Tories cannot stand up and explain to the public the dynamic at play since 1997.

    What is it with my party? Why are they so clueless?

    The Tories capitulation to liberal left ideology is becoming quite concerning.

    1. Bob
      October 5, 2018

      Once again, you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. The Tories have become part of the circus. Their inability to deal with the BBC problem is a case in point, but ukip have a solution to it in their latest policy document, abolish the BBC Licence Fee, which would be a good start and would deprive the “Left” of £3.5 billion p.a. and the ability to set the political narrative.

      FWIW there’s another petition to Parliament about the Royal Charter:https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/226446/

    2. Man of Kent
      October 5, 2018

      Indeed ,and one of the worst aspects of charities is the receipt of government money in return for adhering to government policy .

      A few years ago now I wrote to Archbishop Rowan Williams about Christian Aid .
      It was clear that government money was some 20% of the income and equalled by chance[ ?] the total bill for personnel . In return the charity followed the line that they would only fund renewable energy in Africa to the clear detriment of many poor Africans.

      Immoral !

      Once you receive government money you have to account for it very fully and have a precise audit trail at any time . This means more staff and cost .

      A few months ago I tried to find out the staff costs and government contributions to Christian Aid on line under Justin Welby .

      The accounts on line were very difficult to read and I failed to find the answers I wanted but there was plenty of Climate Change guff .

      Surely any charity receiving government money should cease to be one !

    3. BOF
      October 5, 2018

      I agree with you Duncan and Common Purpose is the prime example as I have said in my post below. It is a subversive organisation.

    4. rose
      October 5, 2018

      This was borne out on the Today Programme this morning when it was considered reasonable to object to the appointment of a sometime Conservative Life Peeress, now a Crossbencher, to oversee these left wing interests. They are so used to having everything public run by the Left, for the Left, as in the USA, that they aren’t going to take reform lying down.

    5. margaret howard
      October 6, 2018


      “This is simply another example of the parasitic nature of New Labour’s client state construction”

      Private Eye’s Dave Spart would be proud of you.

  3. Cheshire Girl
    September 28, 2018

    I never give money to ‘campaigning ‘charities. I prefer to give my hard earned money to those who actually ‘do’ something for the good of society.

    1. L Jones
      October 5, 2018

      We are body and soul behind our local Hospice.

    2. NickC
      October 5, 2018

      Cheshire Girl, I agree with you. I do not give to charities that prefer statist political posturing.

  4. oldtimer
    September 28, 2018

    For many years, at least back to the 1980s, governments have funelled significant sums of money to charities. It does this to enable them to provide services the government is not equipped to provide itself. As much as half or more of some charity income has been provided this way. The foreign aid budget has provided rich pickings for some.

    Governments have also given money to promote causes. This was obvious in the promotion of the global warming agenda. In short, governments have helped corrupt the original concept of charity for their own purposes. There is a strong case for review and reset. the

  5. mickc
    September 28, 2018

    Charities should certainly not be political; many are. The money charities raise should be spent directly on the charitable purpose for which they exist.
    It may be sensible to limit the size of charities, probably by size of revenue, in order to limit their power.

    1. NickC
      October 5, 2018

      MickC, Many of the larger “charities” get large amounts of government (ie taxpayer’s) money. That should be curtailed, if not stopped. Certainly there should be a limit on pay in any registered charity – I suggest a maximum of twice average pay.

    October 5, 2018

    I have my charitable money deducted automatically from my pay. It is called Tax.
    Regularly, I try to see, but cannot see, some of it going overseas in a big bag “Overseas Aid”
    I would wish to see the receipts. Each one of them, in detail,an audit, of where every single penny is spent., and in detail what good is done with each, each, penny.Also how much the bag costs in which the money is placed and postage costs.Until then, all Tax should be autonatically stopped, of course!

    1. Andy
      October 5, 2018

      You can get a break down of your tax bill from HMRC.

      The reality is that the amount you personally contribute to overseas aid is almost certainly pretty close to zero – a handful of pence per week.

      The money is spent on things like preventing the spread of disease and stopping people from starving to death.

      Rather than feeling angry about your, frankly, negligible contribution you should feel good that for the price of a handful of beers a month you have helped save children’s lives.

      You should also celebrate your good fortunate to have been born in a rich country. It was entirely an accident of birth that you are not one of those in need.

      1. libertarian
        October 5, 2018


        Again having an opinion on something you know nothing about.

        Overseas aid doesn’t fund anything of the sort. It goes mostly to despotic governments who spend it on limo’s, arms and other nefarious activities.

        The time I spent in East and Southern Africa talking to local people who all said the same thing. We dont want aid, we want trade. They want the ability to be able to sell their goods to an open market. Your beloved EU prevents that. You and the supporters of the EU are what cause the problems in Africa

        1. margaret howard
          October 6, 2018


          The EU is the most open market for African exports. Most African countries have fully free access to the EU market. Other partners offer less favourable conditions for African exports.

          Europe is by far Africa’s largest export market and its main customer. Thanks to EU trade openness, exports of food and manufactured products from Africa to the EU keep increasing.


          1. Edward2
            October 6, 2018

            The majority of articles show the EU as a protectionist bloc avoiding trade with cheaper nations by high tariffs margaret.
            Try the view of a trade union group in its excellent article:- How the EU Starves Africa
            Just one example and from a trade union too.

          2. libertarian
            October 6, 2018

            margaret howard

            There are 55 countries in Africa , 33 have access under special rules from the EU. Of those 33 according to BBC fact check site only 57% of their goods are allowed

      2. NickC
        October 5, 2018

        Andy, The average paid by each working person in the UK is over £450 per year – that is not “pretty close to zero”, nor “negligible”.

        The money is not spent on preventing the spread of disease and stopping people from starving to death. Much of the money is either completely wasted, or is counterproductive, or increases corruption in foreign countries and in Western charities.

        There is ample evidence that, except for direct aid in the case of transitory calamity, UK foreign aid amounts to poor people in the UK being forced to give money to rich people in foreign countries; see Moyo’s book “Dead Aid”.

        It would be much better to close down DfID and attempt to prevent your rotten EU from exploiting poor third world countries (which it does, even Greenpeace accepts that). When we Leave, we can do honourable trade deals with the countries the EU exploits.

      3. Adam
        October 5, 2018

        Loving parents take care to avoid accidents.

      4. Steve
        October 5, 2018


        “You should also celebrate your good fortunate to have been born in a rich country. It was entirely an accident of birth that you are not one of those in need.”

        Most interesting, the other day you had nothing but contempt for your country.

        1. Fedupsoutherner
          October 5, 2018

          St Andy again spouting nonsense. He’s so caring but would see all pensioners rot in a ditch. I don’t give any money to any charity that is for other countries unless its a national disaster like I’m Indonesia now. The foreign aid budget is enough and I only support charities in the UK be it for people or animals.

      5. Anonymous
        October 5, 2018

        Not during austerity and certainly not to corrupt states.

        People like you CAUSED Brexit, Andy.

  7. Lifelogic.
    October 5, 2018

    Many (perhaps even most) charities are not really charities at all to any real extent. They usually do not justify their over generous tax reliefs. Far better to lower and simplify taxes for all people & companies (perhaps having income tax at perhaps 20% for everyone and giving no gift aid releif). Charities are, as you say, very often just unfair competition for the private sector combined with expensive slick money raising adverts and systems. As indeed are many government activities – such as social housing, the NHS, “free” state schools …..

    Many charites are really political pressure groups (generally left wing and usually demanding yet more state money and intervention for almost everthing). Often even given government money to use to demant more government money for this or that or for pushing government propaganda.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 5, 2018

      A very good ( and very cheap) book by David Craig on this Subject. The great Charity Scandal. Other good books from him too on the Univerity Con etc.

  8. Lifelogic.
    October 5, 2018

    So will the sensible wing of the Tories bring may down or when push comes to shove will they meekly support her to avoid an election? Just as they did with the appalling & electoral liability John Major? May is very clearly not going to deliver a real brexit.

    May I suggest some good ways for May and Hammond’s appalling left wing, bloated state, tax borrow and waste goverment to save money and get better services too.

    Cancel HS2 and Hinkley it is the wrong nuclear project (see EDF’s Flamanville reactor budget problems and start again delayed to 2020).
    Cut funding and student loans for the pointless university degrees (probably about 2/3 of them).
    Give part vouchers and or tax breaks for school eduation so that far more can go privately and this save on state eduation costs.
    Cut Hammond 12% tax on medical insurance and give tax breaks so more can go privately saving the NHS and state money and releasing them for others.
    Abolish tax breaks for charites (just cut all taxes for everyone instead to sensible levels).
    Encourage the private housing sector to provide more homes for rent of to buy giving tenants and buyers more choice and do not have unfair subsidised by taxes competition for them.
    Simplify Taxation, Employment Laws and loads of other regulations so that the “experts” and advisors in these field can be released to get some real & actually productive jobs instead.
    Have some real deterrents in the criminal justice system so their is less crime to investige, police and prosecute.

    Basically the compete opposite of the current idiotic May/Hammond tax and regulate to death government agenda.

  9. Peter
    October 5, 2018

    I am sick of chuggers.

    Overpaid CEOs in charge of charities are the outcome of politicians using charities and quangoes for patronage.

    1. Lifelogic.
      October 5, 2018

      Indeed and the proportion of the money actually gets past the chugging companies to the charities can be tiny (and of that only a small proportion is actually used for genuine charitable purposes). If you want to do something charitable do it directly youself with you own money and/or time would be my approach. Then you can be fairly sure it is doing good directly. Cut out the greedy middle men, the slick advertising costs, the posh offices and the over paid charity executives.

      With Tax too only a very small proportion gives any real value back to the public particularly with tax borrow and waste Hammond and May. At least with charities you are not threatened with imprisonment if you do not give.

      1. Bob
        October 6, 2018

        “over paid charity executives.”

        I read that David Miliband is being paid more than £400,000 a year to run a charity that gets millions of pounds from the British aid budget.

        1. Lifelogic
          October 7, 2018

          Sounds rather likely.

    October 5, 2018

    Everyone of worth knows they’ll get it right in the lake. Excalibur. The one who pulls it out is the ONE.
    Sweden has now found the ONE
    Where’s ours?

  11. Dave Andrews
    October 5, 2018

    What should a charity do?
    How about caring for elderly in need, who have no means to support themselves?
    Supporting young, single mothers, providing shelter for those in need, helping vulnerable children, providing facilities for the disabled?
    All these things, and more, I am required to pay for through the tax system – an enforced charity. I wouldn’t mind putting my hand in my pocket, but then find the money has been taken already, not just to pay for the genuine need, but the spurious and fraudulent claims as well.
    Return these things to the genuine charity sector, and relieve the tax-payer.

    1. Adam
      October 5, 2018

      Dave Andrews:

      You make intelligent comments.

      The state has indeed part-changed into a charity, turning more of our population into becoming dependent.

      1. bigneil
        October 5, 2018

        Not only our population Adam- people abroad get sent ATM cards with UK taxpayer’s cash on them. Or the others come here and get a free life on our taxes – whether we want them too or not.

    2. Andy
      October 5, 2018

      Let me guess – all of the things you think should be done by charity are things you think you personally do not benefit from. Help for single mothers, the disabled etc.

      No doubt there are parts of the state that you rely on. Maybe the NHS. Perhaps highways. Pensions? Whatever it is – and there will be something – why should we pay to subsidise you?

      1. Edward2
        October 5, 2018

        Yet you have made many posts on here complaining about your taxes being spent on the elderly.

        1. Bob
          October 6, 2018


          “Yet you have made many posts on here complaining about your taxes being spent on the elderly.”

          He means the ones that voted for Brexit, he’d have them rounded up and…never mind.

  12. Mike Stallard
    October 5, 2018

    …and the money tends to corrupt and go into the pockets of the wrong people. What is needed is only known to the people on the ground and they are often people who live in hotels, drive nice cars through the tattered streets and help themselves.

  13. Mark B
    October 5, 2018

    Good morning

    Thank you Mr.Redwood MP sir for this. This subject has never received the attention it deserves.

    In my view any so called charity that revived more than 5% or more of its funding from government bodies, whether they be local or supranational, should have their status as such removed.

    Any so called charity that pays vast sums in salaries, pensions and benefits to staff is no charity. I do volunteer work for a registered charity. The work of mine and others is unpaid and we do not claim expenses. I do not expect other charities to be exactly the same but I also do not expect them to act like large multinational.

    The aggressive begging tactics that some use must be made illegal. No more pictures of starving children please to con those with too kinder hearts of their money.

    Labour softened the law on which charities can behave in politics. This must be seen as a grave mistake and the government should now tighten this to prevent clear abuse. When one investigates so called charities / research groups, one finds common themes as mentioned above. One also finds that those running said charity have worked for government and or political parties. This sham must stop !

    1. L Jones
      October 5, 2018

      You’re right, Mark. Advertisements on TV of these overpaid ”luvvies” with pseudo-sad voices, and a backdrop of starving and suffering children, I’m sure make many people turn away – they seem just self-promoting film clips. And where is a good slice of our country’s £14 billion foreign aid in these appalling situations that are thrust in our faces?

      No, charity begins at home. Preferably locally, where we, the givers, can make sure it is working.

    2. Lifelogic.
      October 5, 2018

      “a grave mistake” indeed but not from the left’s perspective.

      1. Bob
        October 6, 2018

        ““a grave mistake” indeed but not from the left’s perspective.”

        The Left see it as part of the masterplan, and the Tories seem to be okay with it.

  14. Alan Jutson
    October 5, 2018

    Always difficult to put labels on things, If a family member looks after another family member is that a charitable duty, or a social /family duty.

    The only real and pure Charities are those who’s members work for free.

    All others where people get paid for working, are a variation of a business.

    Some are a hybrid of the two, with some workers being paid and others volunteering.

    Sad in this day and age in a major developed Country, that so many “Charities” are completing tasks which perhaps should be completed by government organisations which are failing in their own so called duty of care..

    1. a-tracy
      October 5, 2018

      I agree Alan, volunteering isn’t volunteering either if you are still in receipt of your full days’ wage from your employer that is simply a business charitable contribution.

      Who knows what goes on John? There should be a digital list of all government funding to charities each year, that Charity should have a website that details their accounts and who they helped with positive videos so people can see the result of all the money they are spending not just the before tv adverts the after. No one outside of rednose day viewers gets a picture of what help is being provided.

      All of these charity shops that are filling town centres now, just how much do they raise for their charities after staffing and rent costs, shouldn’t they have boards in the shop that say where their money goes.

      I would like to know if political charities like Greenpeace, Oxfam and the food bank network get any tax funding or not and how much and what % of their total receipts taxpayer funding is and how much of their takings are used running them; salary, pensions, building costs, other travel, party, hotel bookings etc the total.

  15. Lifelogic
    October 5, 2018

    Portillo, on This Week, actually seems to think that May’s strategy (of essentially moving to an Ed Miliband agenda) will be proved right politically, also that May will be brought down by some Tory MPs in a vote of confidence yet will still lead them into another election and will win.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Thatcher won three elections (four really with Major as her man until the people sussed him) by moving to the right. This whenMichael Foot moved Labour to the loony left. Anyway Miliband economics just does not work and destroys the economy. May must go. We need lower taxes, smaller government and a real Brexit with real economic freedoms.

    1. OldfashionedTory
      October 5, 2018

      William Hague moved to the right, so did Duncan Smith and then Howard. Cameron moved to the centre. Then May moved back to the right. Which of these won an election?

    2. Andrew S
      October 5, 2018

      Nevertheless, if cosy tory remainers and MPs allow May to remain and fail to deliver a true brexit, no ECJ, no customs union, no single market ties, no divorce bill, then expect leave voters in sufficient numbers to punish the betrayers. Hard left Corbyn will come in and do deals with Sinn Fein (bad for DUP), sell out Gibraltar and Falklands, will raid middle englander pension funds, tax middle classes and the wealthy, ruin private business.
      Cosy tory remainers, choice is Boris/Mogg style brexit now or say goodbye to all the nice things you take for granted. And goodbye to conservative government.

      1. Lifelogic.
        October 6, 2018

        Indeed May must be replaced by a real Tory.

    3. piglet
      October 5, 2018

      Portillo has always been a proponent of “occupying the middle ground because that’s where the majority of votes are”. The problem with this is that it necessarily sacrifices political beliefs and philosophy, and fails to make the case for often needed radical ideas. If all political parties were to do this, they’d all be fighting for the same ground and the voter would struggle to see any difference between them. Sound familiar?

      This is probably why Labour reportedly had a good conference. They resuscitated old ideas of the hard left – ideas that haven’t been in serious political discourse for a generation – which, to the young, seem radical, interesting and attractive. The Tories need to fight this with a full-on promotion of personal freedom, the benefits of free markets, small state, low taxes; not by moving to the left and trying to occupy the territory vacated by Labour.

    4. Andy
      October 5, 2018

      The Tories moved right under Hague, Howard and IDS. And again in 2017. That went well for you.

      Please try moving to the right. You’ll lose bigger.

      Reply Did not move right under Hague

      1. Lifelogic.
        October 5, 2018

        Well whatever Hague, Howard and IDS did would not have helped much after the fool, John (ERM fiasco) and EUphile dope Major (not even an apology) buried the party for many term.

    5. rose
      October 5, 2018

      I was really surprised by his saying this, and not a little shocked. He generally has good political judgement, better than most.

      1. Lifelogic.
        October 5, 2018

        I agree with you.

    6. James neill
      October 5, 2018

      Brexit is bonkers..absolutely

      Voting to leave a ready made economic bloc of 500 million people with huge spending potential right on our own doorstep for a mad stab in the dark at recreating another Empire with countries far away is pure bonkers

      1. libertarian
        October 5, 2018

        James neill

        No what is bonkers are people like you with absolutely no idea about business and trade telling those of us that do that we are bonkers..

        Trade is NOT geographic, trade is NOT between countries, trade is between buyers and sellers and there are 7 billion potential customers in the world, surrendering the right to negotiate free trade with them in order to only deal with 500 million is bonkers

      2. Denis Cooper
        October 5, 2018

        If only you’d mentioned that before we voted in the referendum, it’s far too late now if you have any belief in democracy …

      3. Alan Jutson
        October 5, 2018


        What price Sovereignty ?

        Do you prefer a foreign power to Govern your Country, or our own Politicians who YOU can vote out of power.

        Do you really think we will not trade with the EU after we leave the EU.

        Do you really think the EU will not want to sell us their goods after we leave.

      4. Adam
        October 5, 2018

        James neill:

        We are not ceasing EU trade, nor leaving Europe, but regaining the freedom to act as we choose better.

      5. L Jones
        October 5, 2018

        Bonkers to let a foreign power rule us?
        ”Countries far away”? Where have you been for the past few years? Heard anything about the world wide web, etc?
        The EU is no longer simply an ”economic bloc”. Even Facebook will give you that much information.

      6. Lifelogic
        October 6, 2018

        Not all all, we are far bet off out of this dangerous, socialist, anti-democratic, high taxing, uncompetitive superstate. It will fail anyway quite soon.

    7. Stred
      October 6, 2018

      May has taken to dancing in her old age. Maybe someone could persuade her to show Boris up by taking to serious cycling in London, along busy junctions.

      1. Lifelogic
        October 6, 2018

        Cycling in London is indeed very dangerous, at least 40 times more than driving per mile. I would not wish any physical harm to come to Theresa May. She is just rather dim, misguided, has a duff compass, has no understanding of negotiation and is totally out of her depth. Also she is being manipulated by bureaucrats. I do not suppose she has any real understanding of the 80 % who work in the competitive private sector at all. Hence her idiotic prices and income laws and many other idiotic interventions.

        Can she not just get a job rather more suited to her abilities. A primary school teacher perhaps. When speaking she always seems to assume she is addressing dim seven year old’s after all.

        1. Stred
          October 7, 2018

          She would also be ok as a Deacon in a church with faithful but dims.

      2. Bob
        October 6, 2018

        “Maybe someone could persuade her to show Boris up by taking to serious cycling in London, along busy junctions.”

        An excellent suggestion.

  16. Adam
    October 5, 2018

    Charities should be left free to do good work with supporters making donations via money or work effort as they think fit. Govt topping up donations with Gift Aid is needlessly complicated. If Govt feels charities need & deserve support, they should pay it efficiently, direct.

    Charities collecting funds or campaigning aggressively should be curtailed. Plenty of CEO-calibre voluntary supporters exist to provide leadership. Salaries should be capped.

    Donating only 10p to each UK registered charity would cost you £20,000! The 200,000 include far too many wasteful ‘organisations’. Maintain higher quality with fewer.

  17. hefner
    October 5, 2018

    Good to see charities 235351 and 1131448 addressed. BTW these are the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Global Warming Policy Foundation. As said above two “left-wing” leaning charities.

    1. Lifelogic.
      October 5, 2018

      The vast majority are left wing. Also the last thing a often charity wants to do is to “solve” the problem. They generally want to exaggerate and augment it so they can raise even more money to “solve” it or demand ever more tax payers money to “solve” it.

      1. Bob
        October 6, 2018

        For the last 50 years we’ve asked to raise money so that poor people in Africa would have access to clean drinking water. And after all the hundreds of billions raised, we’re still being sold the same story, what does that tell us?

    2. James
      October 5, 2018

      I believe that many people no longer support charities as they believe the government is doing so. If the government withdrew all support to charities and simply reduced taxes so that people could direct donations much more accurately to where they are needed there would be a reawakening and flowering within the charitable sector, and charities would benefit from higher contributions. My local shopping streets have a dozen or more charity shops all benefitting from rates relief whilst competing with small businesses which have no such relief. Similarly the government should stop all overseas aid, with the exception of emergency aid, until such time as the country’s books are balanced and we are no longer borrowing money to give it away. The government is far too big, too intrusive, and has become our master and not our servant. Every third person in the public sector really ought to be made redundant and encouraged into productive enterprises.

    3. libertarian
      October 5, 2018


      Finding two out of more than 100 is laughable. Grow up and address the issue properly

      As the unpaid head of a small local charity , we are under pressure from “super charities” 99.9% of whom are very leftist , have vast amounts of often tax payers money who then proceed to spend it on themselves . This makes life even more difficult for charities like ours that actually spend every penny on our “clients” and every single “worker” is a volunteer.

      Just as a side issue the constant harping on about tax, especially by leftists, from people who plainly dont understand the tax system is tedious. Charities have tax exemptions but of course it means that when we spend money we can’t claim back VAT for instance. Although yes we do claim gift aid.

      1. Alan Jutson
        October 6, 2018


        Absolutely agree with the points you make, I have been Fundraising Chairman of our local Lions Club for very many years.
        All members are volunteers, pay their own expenses, yet as a registered Charity we still have to pay VAT on any equipment we purchase for use by those who need such.

        Thus the government actually taxes the very funds raised by volunteers, when it is spent !!

        Far simpler for there to be no gift aid scheme to registered charities, but to make them VAT exempt.

    4. Man of Kent
      October 5, 2018

      GWPF left wing !

      I think not with climate sceptic Lord Lawson in charge !

      1. libertarian
        October 5, 2018

        man of kent

        I think Hefner was being ironic

    5. Jagman84
      October 5, 2018

      Two Oases in a desert. They are roadblocks in the way of the continual march of the left. Investigated by the left-leaning Charities commission?

  18. Know-Dice
    October 5, 2018

    I only give to a children’s hospice based in Hampshire, one lump sum every year.

    This gives them the certainty of a regular, but small income.

    I use the same philosophy when giving tips at restaurants, directly to the person who has given good service.

  19. A.Sedgwick
    October 5, 2018

    There are numerous anomalies,unfairness in tax relief. Recent cases have shown how “gullible” government and tax avoiders can be. Without knowing the numbers, maybe tax relief for charities should be confined to the donors e.g. automatic gift aid for donations regardless of income and no forms; private school fees tax deductible from parents’ income, no IHT on farms.

  20. formula57
    October 5, 2018

    “What should a charity do?” – anything it likes, anything at all really, for it will still get funded by DFID. So its aid workers can foster prostitution rackets, exploit children etc..

  21. Anonymous
    October 5, 2018

    Large charities get preferential rates in the high street, a well meaning volunteer workforce (mostly Brexit voting – take note, Andy), they compete with other shops and undercut them, sometimes selling new items by loophole.

    The churches too, run coffee shops undercutting local cafes, again with free labour.

    Most (including the church) have a very well off executive branch who exercise great influence in politics – well to the left, of course.

  22. formula57
    October 5, 2018

    O/T – Unilever HQ is staying in the UK. What an appalling blow for the quislings and remoaners!

  23. bigneil
    October 5, 2018

    I gave up giving anything years ago after seeing a program or article on some of the bosses of the world’s biggest charities. One had 3 mansions spread across the world and flew between them in his private jet.

  24. bigneil
    October 5, 2018

    How much money was raised by Live Aid 30+yr ago – for the famine people in Africa? and what did it change in those countries? I’ll have a guess that nothing changed there – except the population has grown and more and more money is expected.

  25. sm
    October 5, 2018

    I was an assiduous volunteer in a local charity shop for 10yrs, as were many others. The charity itself is a famous one, known at the time for its hands-on care for disadvantaged children. All that began to change: first, the shops were ‘made-over’ and became more of a threat to small local retailers (which is when I resigned), then the charity began to take on Govt work, and its children’s centres were sold for housing.

    Effectively, many charities are surely becoming NGOs, and should no longer be legally treated as charities.

  26. Denis Cooper
    October 5, 2018

    What a surprise, Liam Fox is not resigning, he’s selling out.


    “Liam Fox Would Back Less-Than-Perfect Deal to Get Brexit Done”

    “Trade Secretary says Brexit treaty can be revised after split”

    Yeah, sure, we’ve heard that one before …

    “Says he shares concern of purists but calls for pragmatism”

    1. Alan Jutson
      October 5, 2018


      Decades of arguments if we do not leave in the correct manner.

      Liam Fox and Gove are simply daft !

      1. Lifelogic.
        October 6, 2018

        Indeed but there will be decades of arguments anyway. Canada ++ (as now supported by Trump) is clearly the best approach by miles. Fox and Gove should think again. May & Hammond have proved to be reliably wrong on everything they say or do after all. Slightly better than Corbyn is the best one can say for them.

      2. Denis Cooper
        October 6, 2018

        That is what Theresa May said she wanted to avoid:


        “Second, the new agreement we reach with the EU must endure. After Brexit both the UK and the EU want to forge ahead with building a better future for our people, not find ourselves back at the negotiating table because things have broken down.”

    2. Stred
      October 6, 2018

      Mr Tusk has been saying that a Canada trade deal is pragmatic. He said it last year and after the dancing queen was carrying on Chequers. Maybe Fox hasn’t read the papers.

  27. BOF
    October 5, 2018

    Not to decry the excellent work done by many charities, but my wife and I years ago became so disillusioned with many of the big international charities that we only donate to local charities.

    Charities should not be funded by the tax payer, most especially through our foreign aid budget. This practice has now become their business model and without lifting a finger they are guaranteed an annual inflation busting increase in their funding.

    Many charities are politically active and should have their status removed. Right at the top of the list is Common Purpose which is nothing less than subversive

  28. BOF
    October 5, 2018

    May moves ever closer to her objective. That we never quite leave the EU.

  29. Iago
    October 5, 2018

    Mrs May in her conference speech made a reference to the coming (in December) UN compact on migration; apparently we will sign this, as we signed the recent Marrakech Declaration, and without any public debate. Both provide for the migration of millions of people into the countries of the West, but only the West, for ever. In short, the entire country, while it remains viable, will become a charity for the incomers. It is past time for an open discussion of this suicidal policy.

    1. forthurst
      October 5, 2018

      There will be no end until you stop voting for the liblabcon. The Tories are controlled by backers and gatekeepers who don’t like the English much and would much rather select their fellow countrymen by importation.

  30. Duncan
    October 5, 2018

    Purge Labour’s client state before it purges us.

  31. English Pensioner
    October 5, 2018

    I’d like to know where these campaigning charities get their money. Charities to encourage people to give up smoking or to give up sugar, who pays? I can’t imagine private individuals giving donations to such charities.
    Some seem to be campaigning for something the government of the day wants to do but doesn’t feel it has necessary support. Who is paying?
    I believe any so-called charity that gets more than, say, 10% of its income from state sources (whether a government department, local council or NHS) should not be regarded as a charity but as a state sponsored organisation. There should also be limits on charities being used as a contractor for the state, such as OXFAM distributing foreign aid.
    As it is, I will only support local charities, invariably run by volunteers, where the bulk of their income is actually spent on the job in hand, not on huge salaries for top executives.

  32. lojolondon
    October 5, 2018

    Dear John, On a related point, the number of ‘charities’ supported by the Government should be ZERO. If the government needs to deliver a service to the citizens, it should be a government solution, honestly budgeted for and paid by taxpayers money. If citizens think a cause is a good one, they have the means to support it.
    BUT taking citizen’s money as a tax and then giving it to ‘charities’ is downright dishonest. I firmly believe that this policy was undertaken by a government who’s entire policy revolves around ‘tax and spend’. Of course, if you start giving millions to a charity, you will be able to count on their help and support come election time, and this is what happens.

    1. roger
      October 5, 2018

      What is our net contribution to the EU if not charity?
      What is overseas aid if not charity?
      What are all the additional government contributions to Oxfam and others if not charity?
      What is the total per capita contribution that we each make to all of the above whether we wish to or not?
      The Govt does my charity because they know best so don’t come to me asking for more.

      1. Mitchel
        October 6, 2018

        “What is our net contribution to the EU if not charity?”


  33. William Long
    October 5, 2018

    There is a world of difference between the big national charitable organisations, many of which have become an arm of the nanny state, and smaller, often very local charities that beaver away, mostly unsung, providing money for specific causes. The latter are having quite a hard time and one with which I am involved has in recent years had to disburse an increasing proportion of the money it raises to replace funds previously provided by local authorities, which have been hit by spending cuts. In many cases the money seemed much more appropriatley spent by the local authority than by private charity.
    If large charities feel the need for any political campaigning, they should be very clear that it falls withing their charitable objectives and the Charity Commission should be extra vigilant in holding the trustees to account.
    One thing on which it should be possible to strike a better balance than obtains at present is on regulation. Small charities should clearly be subject to proper governance but many of the regulations they have to meet have been designed and are more appropriate for much larger organisations. Data protection is a good case in point.

  34. Ron Olden
    October 5, 2018

    Most big charities are no longer charities in the term as we understand it.

    They are job creation and marketing schemes for politically or career motivated people who have no interest in, let alone skills to offer direct relief to the causes they purport to exist to help.

    All they do is promote publicity for their own politically motivated ‘solutions’ to whatever cause, they claim they exist to promote, and rip off the people who donate to them.

    In fact they have a vested commercial and political interest, in never being solving the injustice they claim to exist to address, and even in creating new injustices.

    These organisations are the some of the most exploitative the country. They endlessly harass the public and exploit armies of volunteers as use the cash they raise to pay large numbers of highly paid executives and admin staff and contractors

    But if someone goes and works for nothing for a commercial operation which is providing a vital and better service more cheaply and where the operator is getting much less pay than charity executive, the operator can get prosecuted for failing to pay the minimum wage.

    Probably one of the biggest single beneficiaries of money we donate to ‘charity’, is Royal Mail which delivers the tons of junk mail they send out.

    I’m absolutely certain that over the years big charities have wasted far more of their donors money sending me letters which I throw in the bin unopened, or paying people to try to get me donate. I refuse and give my donations and time to local ones.

    words left out dd
    The Trussell Trust (includes?)a commercial franchise operation for Food Banks.

    It’s sales staff go round the country doing presentations encouraging local groups of well meaning, but ………volunteers to pay Trussell Trust to use its brand name for Food Banks which are often by far the least suitable and demeaning method of helping the locals who need assistance.

    The Trust then (may ed)gets money from a big supermarket chain which pays to to be seen to be associated with it and even holds promotional events in store.

    Even if the locality does need a food bank, paying the Trussell Trust to use its’ name is total waste of money.

    I went to one of its presentations and at the end the presenter made the mistake of asking the main local Food Bank enthusiast where they would be going from there. He replied :-

    ‘Yes we’re going to set one up, but were not going to pay you to for it’.

  35. Jim Fife
    October 5, 2018

    Charities exist to help the disadvantaged.
    Take the example of people sleeping rough.
    A charity sets up to help those sleeping rough.
    It provides lets say soup and a shelter.
    Let’s say the government (in one of its so-called caring moments ) decides to stop anyone below the age of 18 being employed full-time.
    Homelessness suddenly increases and it’s clear from the charity’s own research that this is down to 16-17 year olds not being permitted to work and contribute to household budgets.
    The charity reports this finding to HMG and campaigns for the law change to be reversed.

    Are we saying that that issue should be ignored by the charity, and it just continues to provide more and more soup and shelter to meet demand without comment?

  36. Lindsay McDougall
    October 5, 2018

    I tell you one type of charity I would like to see. The NHS needs to introduce modest charges to get rid of frivolous demand (it is estimated that 20% of medical interventions are unnecessary but I couldn’t tell you which 20%). These could be £20 per GP appointment and £150 per annum for any use of hospital services. Charitable funds could be set up by GP services and by hospital trusts to pay these charges for the poor; whether you are ‘poor’ would be at the discretion of the doctors, not the State.

    October 5, 2018

    GCHQ are not doing their job.

    1. Steve
      October 5, 2018

      Dave Andrews

      “How about caring for elderly in need”

      Means test them first. If they own a house which cost them £500, or a brand new car at taxpayers expense….they obviously don’t need my help.

      “Supporting young, single mothers, providing shelter for those in need, helping vulnerable children”

      Fully agree with that.

    2. Steve
      October 5, 2018

      “GCHQ are not doing their job”

      They’re civil servants, what did you expect ?

  38. Richard Butler
    October 5, 2018

    I give only to small charities run by passionate concerned people.
    I used to work in (named town ed)and found a large Charity office there was staffed with women that saw fit to take inordinate amounts of maternity time off, building spiffing little lives cruising around in Range Rovers , usually married to well-off hubbies.

    Not sure starving African children would appreciate such largesse.

  39. Helen Smith
    October 5, 2018

    I volunteered for years at a charity that worked in Romania, I felt then as I feel now that the way to care for people is to bring their country up to standard rather than have them all move here.

    I and the other unpaid volunteers were all replaced by paid staff after we criticised the way charity money, donations from the public, were being spent. It does make you wary of charities and their motives.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      October 5, 2018

      Charity begins at home. Nuff said.

  40. Denis Cooper
    October 5, 2018

    Off-topic, if I put :

    [“we will be leaving the customs union” “Theresa May”]

    as the search term then google throws up over 5000 references, starting with this:


    “Britain WILL leave EU customs union after 2020, insists May as Brexit pressure grows on PM”

    “THERESA May has insisted that Britain will leave the customs union from the end of December 2020 as pressure grows on the Prime Minister to find a solution to the Brexit conundrum.”

    “We have been very clear that we will be leaving the customs union and in future outside of that customs union be able to develop our own independent trade policy”

    But now it becomes clear that every one of those 5000 plus references was a lie:


    “The UK is preparing to compromise on the Irish border issue by keeping Britain in the EU’s customs territory if free trade negotiations fail to prevent checks between the Republic and Northern Ireland.”

    Which they inevitably would, because like all the other continuing EU member states the Irish Republic will have a veto over any new agreement.

    I find it difficult to express my feelings about Theresa May in polite terms.

  41. Den
    October 5, 2018

    I worry about Charities when I learn that around 80% of their income is spent on Salaries, Pensions and expenses.

  42. Den
    October 5, 2018

    |Does anyone know which Charities receive funding from the EU? And why?

    1. Puffer Fish
      October 6, 2018

      In 2014, the EU’s Financial Transparency register had in order: Oxfam GB, International Rescue Committee, British Museum, ActionAid, Plan International, World Vision UK, Mercy Corps Scotland, International Medical Corps, Save the Children, British Council Royal Charter as the first ten beneficiaries.
      Similar documents might exist on the EU web site for other years.

      1. Den
        October 6, 2018

        Thank you for that. Interesting to learn that the British based are probably receiving British tax payers money via the EU. I wonder if all these donations are part of our rebate?
        JR do you know?

  43. hefner
    October 6, 2018

    “The Lobbying Act – the chilling reality” on smk.org.uk
    That’s the 24-page report by The Sheila McKechnie Foundation on the effect on charities of the Lobbying Act which came into force on 1 April 2015.

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