Buying Charities

One of the things we hear all too little about is the way in which charities, which like to refer to themselves as non governmental organisations (NGOs) are in fact becoming governmental. They\’re, to be fairly simple about it, being bought.

Being bought with our tax money. We all know that Friends of the Earth Europe gets 50% of its money from the EU to, erm, advise the EU on environmental matters (no hassles over conflicts of interest there then, eh?).

The latest little taster is Shelter being paid to puff government policies.

Shelter, one of the few organisations backing the plan to build new towns in the English countryside, said it had been given £100,000 by the Government to publish a series of 13 pamphlets, one for each proposed eco-town site.

Called "Eco-town – the facts", the publications are branded with the Shelter logo and claim to assess the impact the new homes will have in the different areas. Each one begins: "Shelter has written a series of leaflets to help clarify the facts."

But each 20-page leaflet focuses largely on the need for more affordable housing, with only one paragraph addressing such concerns as traffic levels, flood risks and pressure on public serices.

Opponents called the leaflets "Government propaganda" and accused ministers of trying to mislead the public into thinking the information came from an independent source.

This is the problem with government subventions to such organisations: they stop being independent.

3 thoughts on “Buying Charities”

  1. The BBC is the other partner in the governmental NGO arrangement. Barely a day goes by without a BBC news story regurgitating a “charity” press release wholesale. “A new report by charity Y into social trend X indicates that it’s very bad & it ought to be banned” (which of course is what the government was planning to do anyway).

    Isn’t Cameron a big fan of the charitable sector? Can’t see him cleaning up the house.

  2. There really needs to be legislation about this. Perhaps we could force such NGOs to put cigarette-style warning notices about their funding on the front page of any such communications?

  3. Agree with the thrust of this. I work for a small benevolent charity. All our funds are privately raised from individuals, corporates or trusts. It is small fry compared to the big NGOs but at least it’s a genuine charity. An organisation which receives most of its money from the state – sorry – it ain’t a charity. The guy from Citivas published a report demanding a 3 tier classification of 3rd sector organisations depending on levels of state funding. The report not surprisingly was shouted down in the charity media – no wonder, it touched on a raw nerve – that parts of civil society are being surreptitiously nationalised.

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