Ending fake charities

A few short days ago, Sara Scarlett, a well known libertarian and a former Lib Dem started a petition calling on the Government to cease all funding of the charitable sector.

A “charity” which receives taxpayer funding is simply not a charity. In light of the Kids Company scandal it is fair to say that a symbiotic relationship between gov. and charities is unhelpful and inappropriate. Taxpayer funding turns charities into unaccountable Quangos. This is morally wrong.

I have barely met Sara but it was obvious that this was not a mean spirited petition. Sara smells a rat. I caught up with her on Facebook to find out more:

A petition is a difficult thing to get moving. What motivated you to try?

IMG_0416-0.jpgI started this petition mainly due to the Kids Co scandal and my years in the non-profit industry seeing waste and inefficiency that wouldn’t be allowed to exist in the private sector wilfully ignored.

What problems do you believe taxpayer funding of charities produce?

  • If a “charity” receives public funding, it’s not a charity, it’s quango. That may just be semantics, however, semantics are usually manipulated to obscure poor practice.
  • The accountability, transparency and scrutiny standards of Charities are well below the standards expected in other publically funded bodies.
  • Government funding isn’t granted on the basis of merit. It’s given to Government favourites. Other charities were resentful of Kids Company’s special status.
  • Meaning well is not the same as doing good. There seems to be no accurate measure of a charity’s output. With no way to measure output then there’s no way to conduct a cost/benefit analysis. Whilst giving away your own money on a wing and a prayer is fine by me, it’s not okay with public funds.
  • The Charity sector should not be a subdivision of Whitehall. The charity sector is not meant to be part of the Welfare State. If the two are virtually joined then Charity is just a way for politicians to absolve themselves of direct responsibility.
  • In my humble opinion, public funding makes charities lazy. Chasing public funds is not the same as fundraising from the general public. It is a different game and when a charity does one it usually neglects the other.

Your policy would certainly produce a lot of tension at charity HQs. Once the dust settles, how do you think things will change for the charitable sector?

The reputation of the charity sector has hit an all time low and concentrating on their output without a government teat to suck on would be a good thing for both the charities and the causes they’re trying to help.


Readers can sign the petition on the official Government petitions website.

Sara is also on Twitter as @Sayde_Scarlett.


  1. “Meaning well is not the same as doing good.”
    –Quote of the Day!

    Miss Scarlett makes very good points. Well said. :>)



  2. I believe it is worse than this.

    The act of charitable giving is, in my view, one of the noblest mankind is capable of. To act, not in your own financial interest nor that of your blood line, but to help another of whom you have no knowledge and with whom you have no direct association enhances and enriches the lives of both the donor and the beneficiary.

    To have that money sullied by being mixed in with funds that have been taken by force from both yourself and others diminishes and disfigures the charitable act beyond recognition. Personally, I will not give to any charity which accepts any “public money” though it is becoming increasingly difficult to find such.

    And if the odious leader of the Kids Company was really so “well meaning” and sympathetic to the plight of disadvantaged children, was she not aware that her £90,000 a year salary could have been used to help some more?



    1. It is quite BLATANTLY ‘worse than this’! Are the present government not only relying on Charities to ameliorate the hardships THEY HAVE CAUSED by the ‘policy’ of austerity, but are through their own agencies directing people to the most appropriate charities, as if they WERE THEIRS TO COMMAND! I am obviously referring to the many ‘food-bank’ charities. They were originally set up by volunteers in the past, to help THE FEW HOMELESS AND NEEDY, but, along with the MANY NECESSARY NEW BODIES, now being called upon to take the place of local government ‘relief’ funding bodies. This it their so-called ‘symbiotic’ nature!



      1. My understanding is that a referral is required by way of validating the need is genuine (no source, just absorbed that from somewhere).

        This makes the relationship both symbiotic and inappropriate, although more from a cultural or ethics standpoint , but I am not sure it means the Gov are bossing the Trussel Trust around in anyway that the Trussel Trust are not consenting too, or indeed, asking for.


  3. Ken, astaist charities jnclude the RNLI (last time I checked) and Mountain Rescue teams. But the State would not fund these activities as they are noble and useful.



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