As Guido reported yesterday, the third sector Labour sleepers are up in arms about Tory MP Conor Burns daring to attack them. Their letter makes the Times, while two more Tory MPs have piled in on Burns’ side. Firstly, Priti Patel on ConservativeHome:
“Those charities that are escalating their political campaigns now in advance of the next election are not only misleading the public but also betraying their supporters and the work that they do. Members of the public who donate to these charities, and taxpayers who also support them through the grants that various Government departments give them, are shocked that they are effectively subsidising political campaigning rather than the delivery of frontline services.”
And Dominic Raab in the Speccie:
“Oxfam’s ad misrepresents its report. Its report smacks of political bias. And the charity has become a revolving door for Labour figures. One of Oxfam’s most effective campaigns has been against tax evasion. Yet, its partisan approach is a gross abuse of its own tax status. If it wants to jettison its independence, it can enjoy all the campaigning freedom in the world – but, then, it must give up the public subsidy.”
IEA wonk Ryan Bourne’s thoughts on the subject are also worth a read:
“Oxfam should be called out for adopting the typical left-wing dogma of equating poverty and inequality and blaming all negative outcomes on the market economy, for example. Most public understanding of the word poverty is poverty in an absolute sense.
Oxfam and others’ approach to poverty is essentially materialist – the idea that all that matters is income, whatever the source. Yet this is treating the symptom of poverty rather than the ultimate causes.
For them there is no problem to which the solution is not more government. They carry just a 3-iron when the world is complex, and the structural problems of our economy require a full set of clubs.”
The IEA’s Christopher Snowden has also been crunching the numbers over the Times letter:
Of the 75 organisations that put their name to the letter, 56 are charities. Of these charities, at least 37 (66%) receive money from the government—central, European and/or local. In most cases, their state funding makes up a very significant part of their income. For example, NAVCA—whose stated charitable purpose is to ‘exert influence on government policy’—relies on DfE, the Home Office, the Office for Civil Society, the Ministry of Justice, DoH and the lottery for most of its income. Concern Worldwide gets nearly £5 million per annum from DfID in addition to funds from the Scottish government. Children England gets more than 90 per cent of its income from the government, as does Keep Britain Tidy.
The list goes on. Friends of the Earth are heavily dependent on grants from the EU. Health Poverty Action, ActionAid, BOND, the Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust and Progressio are funded by DfID. The European Commission funds the Jubilee Debt Campaign, Progressio, ActionAid and the Runnymede Trust. The Scottish government funds SCVO, Energy Action Scotland and the Scottish Out of School Care Network. The Welsh government funds Concern Worldwide and Children in Wales. Manchester Community Central appears to be wholly funded by the state via DfE, NHS Manchester and Manchester City Council. Woodcraft Folk is funded by the lottery and by the International Falcon Movement: Socialist Educational International, which, in turn, is funded by the European Commission. Other signatories receive taxpayer funding via BIS, the FSA, DWP, DoH and DCSF.
Government funding the lobbying of the government.