Mention the world “charity” and people will automatically think of an organisation funded by public donations and existing to help the sick and needy. But in recent years, another form of charity has grown up, which is largely funded by government grants, and is essentially a lobbying group rather than one that actually helps anyone. They may claim to be independent of government, but in reality any opposition they display is merely to egg government on to impose every tighter restrictions in favour of their particular hobbyhorse. Such bodies have justifiably been dubbed Fake Charities.
One of the most egregious of these is Alcohol Concern. Far from devoting their efforts to helping the unfortunate victims of the disease of alcoholism, their primary raison d’être is to campaign in favour of every proposed curb on drinking and drinkers going. For this purpose, they derive well over half their income from the government. In 2007/08, their total income was £903,000. £515,000, or 57%, of this came directly from the government, with a mere £4,991, about half of one percent, coming from public donations.
If they had to resort to rattling collection boxes in the street in favour of banning happy hours, closing pubs and jacking up alcohol taxes, I wonder how much response they would get. Or might they even find that a kick in the teeth often offends?