The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

05 October
Comments Off on If We Have To Pay That 5p Plastic Bag Levy Then Let It All Go To LOCAL “Good Causes”

If We Have To Pay That 5p Plastic Bag Levy Then Let It All Go To LOCAL “Good Causes”

AM38GT Man looking at bill in grocery store. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.

From now on any customer who wants a plastic bag at the check out of every large retailer will have to pay a compulsory 5p levy. The government hopes that this will reduce the use of plastic bags and help the environment.

Of every 5p paid under the new charge, 0.83p will go to the Treasury in VAT and retailers have been told they are expected to give the rest to good causes.

You can bet your Nectar card that the six figure boss of the RSPCA and his fellow big charity chiefs are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of shedloads of shekels being forklifted into their money chests via this plastic bag levy. Some of it might go to the front line but you can guarantee that a lot of it will pay for shiny new offices and extra bonuses for those vital “administrators”….

What’s more Cameron’s government will be getting a slice of the action with that 0.83p. No doubt Samantha Cameron will be persuading Dave to pump that into foreign aid or climate change gifts so that she can feel a warm glow inside at her dinner parties.

So how about we approach this from a different angle. Keep the “good causes” ploy but instead of funnelling it the charity fat cats why not insist that the money raised from the levy goes to charities that are local to each supermarket’s catchment area. Indeed most supermarkets already identify with local good causes.

Then, instead of the supermarket bosses deciding which good cause to support while schmoozing with fellow rotarians at the golf club get the customers who pay the levy to decide for themselves by copying the Waitrose way……giving them a plastic token which they then throw into one of three boxes identifying a local good cause. Every two months three new charities would be identified so that over the year at least eighteen organisations would benefit. Then, at the end of the year, each charity would have to publish, in detail, how exactly the money was spent and make the facts available on the supermarket’s website, in the local media and via a leaflet issued at each checkout.

Oh and Dave…..why not announce that you won’t be taking your cut from the levy so the whole 5p will go to local good causes.

Simples…….

 

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28 October
Comments Off on I’m Not So Convinced That Campaigning/Lobbying Should Be Regarded As Charitable Work…

I’m Not So Convinced That Campaigning/Lobbying Should Be Regarded As Charitable Work…

“Campaigning Charities” like the Tax Payers Alliance and The League Against Cruel Sports are extrememly upset by the proposed Lobbying Bill according to Mark Wallace who has worked for several “Campaigning Charities” including the TPA.. As a result lots of them are so upset they have briefly put aside their differences to campaign against the bill.

Fortunately not every reader of his article felt convinced by his sob story and I thought this one hit the nail squarely on the head.

I have no objection to people campaigning. I do object to taxpayer funding for fake charities – something that should be addressed by ensuring that such organisations are not allowed the privilege of charitable status as an enhancement of their credibility.

Precisely.

Charitable status should only be reserved for those organisations which actually use donations to provide a service rather than outwork for PR consultants and contacts for advertising agencies

I’m a great supporter of the work done by the TPA. But I certainly don’t see why I, as a taxpayer, should help subsidise its staffing and campaigning. In fact the whole notion of a Charity Industry makes me very nervous about motives….

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18 September
Comments Off on Time To Remove Some Of The Snouts From The Taxpayer Funded Foreign Aid Trough?

Time To Remove Some Of The Snouts From The Taxpayer Funded Foreign Aid Trough?

While he was leader of the opposition David Cameron promised that once in power a Conservative government would introduce a law pledging that 0.7% of all government spending would go each year to foreign aid. He also promised a referendum on membership of the EU. That one slipped quickly down the memory hole once he entered number 10 – but the foreign aid commitment remained solid. It hasn’t yet been passed into law but, alongside the NHS, the Department for International Development’s budget remained ring fenced while everything else was being sliced.

It really sums up the essence of Cameron and his friends in the metropolitan cabal who took over the party once he was elected. At heart, though they profess Tory “values”, they yearn for the approval of the UK’s cultural elite whose house magazine is The Guardian and whose chuch is the BBC.

Foreign aid paid for out of our taxes has never been particularly popular with most people. Private donations, however, have always been a different matter. Over the last few decades foreign aid charities like Oxfam & Save The Children have benefited enormously from the generosity of private individuals. As a result such institutions have experienced massive growth until we are now faced with a foreign aid industry handling billions of pounds and employing tens of thousands of people on an increasingly professional basis – and like any other industry they have an interest in constant expansion.

That was fine until, like everyone else, the charity industry was hit by the recession. Oxfam and company were now having to compete in a shrinking market. Thousands of managers and executives who were earning +50k salaries became very nervous and saw the Cameron commitment as their lifeline. Which is why they will be spinning furiously in the face of current concerns about the amount of taxpayers money being pumped into foreign aid and, much closer to the nerve, serious questioning of the raison d’etre for foreign aid in the first place.

After years of being Teflon the whole purpose of foreign aid is coming under the microscope – the six figure salaries, the grandiose offices, the bonuses and perks and, above all, the industry’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Far from helping the poorest, he said, ‘aid corrodes civil society and encourages corruption and conflict’ in poor countries. He added: ‘While we fund schools and hospitals, rulers can steal from state coffers or spend huge sums on arms, then win elections using bribery, coercion or violence.’
Developing countries wanted ‘tourism and trade, not dollops of aid’, he said, urging Miss Greening to scrap the ‘neo-colonial’ approach to the world.
He said: ‘You cannot build democracy on other people’s money … By doling out vast sums to often dubious foreign regimes, we ensure they have less need to respond to their citizens’ needs.

And with all that money being hosed into the trough there are plenty of snouts getting stuck in and greedy for more

With the huge aid monies swirling around, all those involved — politicians, consultants, charities, think-tanks, even many journalists — have a shared interest in hiding uncomfortable facts. As budgets have soared in recent years, the stakes have become higher. And the relationships between those feeding off the boom is looking increasingly tawdry.
This weekend it emerged that ‘poverty barons’ are making millions in consultancy fees, with half a billion pounds paid to consultants. Instead of alleviating poverty in the most hard-pressed corners of the world, money from British taxpayers is ending up in the pockets of fat cats paying themselves six-figure salaries and seven-figure bonuses

We know that the new minister, Justine Greening, saw her move from Transport to DfID as a demotion. We also know she is able and combative (she trod on quite a few bureaucratic toes at Transport) and not over keen on dishing out freebies to foreigners. Let us hope that she casts her accountant’s eye line by line over those DfID books – and spearheads a reassessment of the whole nature of DfID.

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06 September
Comments Off on Charities Need New Angles To Maintain Their Staff’s Comfortable Lifestyle As Donations Fall…

Charities Need New Angles To Maintain Their Staff’s Comfortable Lifestyle As Donations Fall…

Whoops…..a tear jerking, guilt inducing campaign about child poverty in the UK that recently blasted forth from the hallowed temples of the charity Save The Children (STC) has backfired in spectacular fashion.

Breathlessly trumpeted by the BBC the STC core message was brazenly blatant – there are all these children living in poverty in the UK and the government needs to pay more to their families in benefits. Therefore the cuts in government spending introduced by the coalition not only need to be abandoned but reversed – otherwise lots of children will starve….

Oh dear – grab a tissue, reach for that credit card and send a generous donation to STC…..then contact the media and your MP demanding an immediate increase in the welfare budget.

Except – all is not as it seems in the world of charity campaigns.

The statistics are a tad dodgy

The gut wrenching video used actors

Justin Forsyth, the boss of STC, was a Labour spin doctor for Gordon Brown whose policy of throwing money at low income families did nothing to resolve the problem – and before then he was Tony Blair’s Special Adviser on poverty, climate change and trade. So hardly a political neutral…..

Forsyth, who earns £162,000 per annum as Save The Children’s CEO, is very much one of those people identified by UKIP’s Nigel Farage as our new ruling class. Before his job with the Blair/Brown Labour government he spent thirteen years working for Oxfam. He is therefore a classic product of the charity/campaign industry with little or no experience of wealth creation.

Make no mistake about it, there are a lot of people who now earn their living by working for charities and the salaries, especially at the upper levels, are the gateway to an extremely comfortable lifestyle. But the recession has forced these charities into an unseemly competition for a shrinking market so, like toothpaste manufacturers or lager brewers they need to indulge in a little re-branding to attract attention, something which can catch the eye on a slow news day…

Hence STC came up with the idea of starving UK children – it’s a new angle on an old idea. Of course some could say they have their heart in the right place and this old cynic might grant them that. But I can’t help thinking that it also has a lot to do with keeping Mr Forsyth and his STC colleagues in the style to which they have been accustomed…

After all, the CEO’s £162,000 has to come from somewhere…..

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