Would you be surprised to hear that British charities receive more money from the government and the National Lottery than they do from individual donors? More than £12bn a year was transferred from the taxpayer to the third sector at the last count. Much of this was essentially outsourcing. Millions of pounds of foreign aid is channelled through groups like Christian Aid and Oxfam, and many healthcare services, including hospice care and family planning clinics, are provided by grant-maintained charities.
This is all well and good. Government has worked with charities to provide public services since the welfare state was created and there is no compelling reason for it to stop now. However, in the last 15 years, the relationship has become murkier. Governments, from the European Commission down to local authorities, have been funding overtly political organisations on a large scale. Did you know, for example, that dozens of environmental pressure groups, including Friends of the Earth, are largely funded by the EU? Is it transparently clear that many of the charities who lobby for various taxes and prohibitions are being paid by government departments for “advocacy” and “policy development”?
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