In the last few days a story has broken regarding how the Government has spent substantial sums of our public money to both attack Russia and also damage the Labour Party and they have made a pathetic attempt to shield these actions behind what is supposed to be a charitable structure. Almost exactly four years ago I wrote this blog about how the Party was hellbent on trying to destroy charities. This followed a series of actions and statements by a wide number of Conservatives which included: Part 2 of the Lobbying Bill which was designed to stop charities participating in political discussions; Priti Patel MP criticising a few overseas charities that paid their CEOs around £100k and ignoring several Tory run health charities and various other animal protecting charities that paid their CEOs even more; MPs such as Charlie Elphicke criticising Oxfam and other charities for being too political in his view; extensive criticism, explicit and implicit of foodbanks by a number of Government Ministers and backbenchers for addressing issues caused by the Government; and finally the Tory run Centre For Policy Studies criticising the 50 largest charities for their lack of transparency.
As the image above shows the Government has recently invested £2.26m of public money in what they claim to be attempts to enhance national security carried out by what is supposed to be a charity. Now clearly work is going on elsewhere to understand what the organisation has done but my approach was to go to the Scottish Charity Commissions website to find out more about this charity. Over the last five years the charity’s income has been £461k; £90k; £443k; and £552k with the current year not yet published but the Governments contribution that will have taken that income to well over £2m so the growth will be substantial and arguably is highly disproportionate! In addition the £552k last year included £296k from the Government which represented 54% of the charity’s income and assuming that the charity will have received other funding to match last years non Government funding, that this year the Governments funding will represent 88% of their entire income. So in effect the Government have taken over the charity in the last two years having never funded it before. Then on top of that there are significant questions about the way in which the charity is run. Its accounts from last year show that they have no employees. It is possible to run charities without employees but at these levels of income that is quite unusual. In fact two Trustees were paid £20,000 between them for consultancy purposes. However their accounts from last year show a charity that employs no one and according to Alan Duncan whose work is to improve governance, spent £49k per year on office rent and rates, £22k per year on IT support and websites, £2.4k on telephone costs and £2.7k on stationary and other office costs . This seems to raise a number of questions which along with the proportion of Government funding for a charity of this size and the huge increase in one year and the political impact that should ring a huge number of alarm bells to anyone with an ounce of integrity or understanding. However it appears that Alan Duncan and his team of political advisers lack all of these qualities and instead are simply spending our money with very little care for where the money goes. One wonders how many other organisations are being manipulated and corrupted by our Government?