Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Big Society - The Role of Charities

Coalition Nanny's current soundbite of choice is "The Big Society". Apparently this phrase was knocked up by Tory HQ one evening before election and never actually "tested" on focus groups to see if anyone liked it, or actually knew what it was meant to mean.

I dare say it is meant to mean that we are all in this together, and that we should pull together etc.

Very inspiring!

Anyhoo, as a result of the ongoing cuts programme some sections of the "big society" have been starting to feel a little nervous. There has been a rather well co-ordinated media campaign of late by the charity sector, the members of which are worried that the speed and scale of government cuts will disadvantage those most in need and hamper the charities in their work.

I do not deny that the cuts will affect some sections to the "big society" more than others; also it is a reality of life that the poorest members of society are always adversely affected more during an economic downturn, than the richest. However, I would venture to suggest that maybe the charities are overprotesting a little too much:

1 The country is £4.8 Trillion in debt. The current debt reduction measures barely scratch the surface of that debt.

2 There are a vast number of charities in the UK, some of which appear to be targeting exactly the same groups and are quite possibly tripping up over each other and wasting time and resources via this inefficient duplication of effort.

3 Last year charities in the UK raised approximately £53BN, not all of this actually goes to the intended recipients (eg there are admin costs and fundraising costs)

4 Some of the larger, well known charities are sitting on some rather large cash reserves.

How much?

£26BN in 2001.

They argue that these are necessary in order to smooth cash flows during years of plenty and years of lean (much like the argument used by endowment companies wrt "with profit policies"). Given that we are currently experiencing lean times would it not be sensible for the charities with reserves to play their part, and use their savings to make up the shortfall from donations (much like everyone else has to do when they face financial shocks, such as redundancy?)

In short, we are facing a difficult and uncertain economic future for the next few years; if the "big society" really does exist, then should charities not also play their part by using their reserves?

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  1. Tonk.1:11 PM

    I have recently become very disillusioned with charities in recent years. They have become big businesses and in many cases, have lost touch with the reason they're there in the first place.

    We had a very worth while charity based here in Wokingham, they provided highly trained dogs for blind people, they always pleaded poverty and pushed and pushed for more and more generous donations however, when the Icelandic banks crashed, the charity had many millions tucked away in those accounts.

    I have also lost faith in the RSPCA; this "charity" has become part of the criminal justice system. They investigate, prosecute and can punish those that they percieve to be harming animals; is this state function really part of a charity's remit?
    I am an animal lover but, I recently sent a private company's employee hired to fund raise for the RSPCA away from my door with a flea in his ear for the reasons previously stated. He stated that his company charged sixteen percent of any donantions given for admin and wages. Is it really possible for someone that is as batty about animals that they would take a job with the RSPCA, to be able to make an objective decision about whether to prosecute someone that in their blinkered view is doing some real harm to an animal?
    The previous government has changed the law to allow them to use the Lotto fund as a slush fund for government, this goes against the safeguards that John Major put in place when he set up the Lottery.

    I also notice that many charities, including the biggest mental health charity that should know better, are going to help Nanny to punish disabled people and force them to try to get jobs and that these charities will be paid on results so it follows that, the level of disability a person has will be less important than the potential commission the charity will earn if they can find a reason to clear a person fit for work.

    I will only give to charities that are local to me and use all the money given to provide a service to those that need it. I support the Salvation Army and the RNLI, the latter in my opinion should be state funded anyway.

  2. Anonymous6:12 PM

    I work for a charity and some of the wastage I see is terrible, mostly through charity accounting regulations and pension deficit payments. I would urge anyone who wants to donate to a charity to check audited accounts and read up on the reserve funds of the group in question...

  3. Old Holborn reports that one charity is taking Nottingham city council to court in order to try and prevent them from cutting their budget...

    How does that work, then?

  4. Tonk said:

    "I support the Salvation Army and the RNLI, the latter in my opinion should be state funded anyway."

    As someone with a family history of serving on the lifeboats all I can say is "Noooooooo!". As soon as the RNLI became state funded it would be a case of:

    Bureaucrat: "So you need a Tamar Class lifeboat then?"

    Lifeboat station: "Well, yes, it would help us save more lives."

    Bureaucrat: "I'm sorry but in these financially constrained times and because of government budget deficit cuts we cannot equip you with one of can have a kayak instead."

    Oh, and fair play for supporting both of those charities. Both close to my heart for various reasons.