THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Free Asia Bibi
Guest Post: Economics

It's not charity if it's compelled

Charities getting too much taxpayer cash, says think-tank - Telegraph.

That government uses "charities" as a front for its activities may be news to the Institute of Economic Affairs, The Telegraph and the government, but it has been widely known for years. There is even a website - - that seeks to identify those channeling taxpayers' money fraudulently. For example, the site's entry on ASH Scotland reads;

Of the £468,500 ASH received in grants and donations in 2006/07, £403,800 came from the Scottish Parliament. The remainder came from Health Scotland (which is part of NHS Scotland) and the British Heart Foundation (which receives £4m from the government).

The site also reveals that a mere £8,000 of Alcohol Concern's £1.1 million income comes from non-state sources. In what sense can such a state-funded organisation be seen as anything other than an arm of government?

Most pernicious of all are those (like ASH and Alcohol Concern) that are funded by government to lobby government for changes in the law desired by government. There is no way that such "astroturfing" can be characterised as anything but fraud. It involves multiple frauds actually. Government takes money from taxpayers under the false pretence that it is needed to fund legitimate state activity and then gives it to organisations lobbying for a bigger state. Those organisations raise money from genuinely charitable citizens seeking to alleviate genuine suffering but actually run political campaigns at the instigation of politicians. The lobbying funded by the government is then presented as "evidence" of a public desire for more state interference along lines desired by the ruling party.

At the heart of this is a moral point. Charity is a wonderful activity. The religious say it's good for the 'soul' and the rest of us (agreeing with the sentiment if not the words) regard the charitable impulse as the litmus test for a decent human. But while statists will warp this story into an imagined attack on charity itself, the truth is there can be no charity in any state-funded activity. Every resource the government has was taken by force. The OED defines "charity" as

The voluntary giving of money or other help to those in need

Voluntary" being the key word. Government "giving" to charity actually prevents genuine charity by those from whom the money was taken by both force and (in this case) fraud.

Statists may believe government aid expresses the charitable instincts of all of us but it really only expresses the corrupt desire of those in power to buy support with other peoples' money. Worst of all it expresses the great lie at the heart of state corruption of civil society; that government is both more benign and more wise than the people and knows better than those who earned it how their money should be spent. Please review your charitable giving and cancel any donations to charities receiving taxpayers' money. Give instead to the many wonderful genuine organisations, such as the RNLI, that carry on the true work of charity.

STOP PRESS Devil's Kitchen (who coined the name "fake charities" and set up the Fake Charities website) has more (and better) on this subject.


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Andrew Duffin

"A charity that relies in the main part on taxes is no more a charity than a prostitute is your girlfriend."

(H/T Guido Fawkes)

james higham

Voluntary" being the key word. Government "giving" to charity actually prevents genuine charity by those from whom the money was taken by both force and (in this case) fraud.

Says it all.


Several years ago the nspcc began cutting direct work with abused children and putting more money in to childline after the government gave them 50 million to take over childline providing they matched the amount themselves. they felt the public have little knowledge of thework they do with already abused children and see hem as a preventative organisation so this would not affect donations, just the children! Their adverts give the impression that if you call them about a child in danger they will protect that child. what they actually do is call social services, something the caller could do themselves. they say they have the samepowers as sicial services but they never use them. i wonder if a freedom of information request would show how many years it has been since they have, 20 odd would be my guess. i used to work for them . when people campaigned to stop the closure of our local service they were told the nspcc was not a needs led service. just about sums it up!


I think the easiest way to address this issue is to require all charities to state clearly what % of their income comes from the state. And also what % of their income is spent on advertising/lobbying/chugging/admin/media/publicity/PR/hospitality.

Quangos are not inherently bad though.

Many services which traditionally were huge state monopolies are now supplied by 'charities' that compete against each other for state funds and are judged largely on their financial efficiency. It is a pseudo-market but in my experience it can be very cost effective when compared to the state run union infested alternatives.

David Davis


How so? Do tell.


Annonymous, What a pointless bogus comment. Say why if you really think that.

“In what sense can such a state-funded organisation be seen as anything other than an arm of government?”

You are absolutely 100% right. It is really a government department pretending to be a charity, the people working for it are really civil servants.

I think you are right to call it fraud, it is so a con. I am very careful where I give my charitable donations.


A very poor analysis.

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