Posts Tagged ‘Poverty’

Billionaires Tax and Oxfam’s Poverty Reports

Oxfam no 202918 is a registered charity in England and Wales  and in Scotland SC039042. Oxfam GB is one of 20 members of the international confederation Oxfam.

From accounts just published in respect of 2017/18 Oxfam GB spent £336.9m on charitable work (£173.2m on humanitarian work, £151.6m on  development work and £12m on campaigning. A further £100m was spent on trading costs (net income £18.9m) and fundraising.)

Also just published is a report on equality and poverty saying ‘Last year, the poorest half of the world became 11% poorer, while billionaires’ fortunes rose 12% – or $2.5 billion every day….. The gap between the richest and poorest people is growing.’

Having  a Pop at Billionaires

The poverty report wants to engender a movement that creates a higher tax income from the Super-rich. This simplistic approach applies whether they are rich in terms of income or asset values. Rich list Americans like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill & Miranda Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, the Walton family of Walmart fame, Warren Buffett, the Koch brothers and the Mars family who are collectively worth well in excess of $500 billion.

Large corporations systematically hide their corporate profits in overseas tax havens to avoid tax. This is supported by Oxfam research under the headline ‘Drug companies as tax dodgers, price gougers, and influence peddlers that named four pharmaceutical corporations – Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co and Pfizer. Tax dodging, high prices, and political influencing by drug companies exacerbate the yawning gap between rich and poor.’

Comment

  • Oxfam is going through a turbulent period and interested charity watchers will be pouring over their latest annual reports and accounts. These detail some of the structural changes planned or implemented to restore the recent loss of confidence.
  • Billionaires are an apparently easy target to gain extra resources. Where is the effort to curtail corruption, political incompetence/misfeasance and other forms of oppression which would wastes resources gained from a billionaires tax.
  • Oxfam is a large and potentially cumbersome organisation that in our opinion needs to continue changing and honing down it’s focus to protect the core work that it should do.

Food For Thought – Food from Fighting

In the January news ‘Surplus operational army ration packs’ are to be donated by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to 1100051 FaresShare. It is anticipated that this food will then be distributed for cooking by local charities to support the needy.

FareShare is a charity consisting of 20 Regional Centres  aimed at relieving food poverty and reducing food waste in the UK. It does this by rescuing good quality surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste and sending it to almost 10,000 charity and community groups across the United Kingdom

FareShare manages 3 key centres and provides a network of third-party independent of other charities with central support. FareShare also provides a service, known as  FoodCloud, which reduces store level food waste and contributes £2m to the charities income.

Similar Food Sharing Charities to investigate include:
1146847 – FARESHARE LEICESTER
1075477 -FARESHARE YORKSHIRE LIMITED
1134423 –  FOODCYCLE
1159512 –  THE WASTE AND RESOURCES ACTION PROGRAMME (WRAP)
 1110522 – THE TRUSSELL TRUST

Observations.

  • The FareShare charity seems to well connected within the sector and to its important supporters.
  • Waste elimination and better use of resources is a political high profile cause and likely to continue attracting attention and support.
  • FareShare externally seems to be financially well set up and in a position to deliver on its objectives.
  • Income from individuals is not critical so in our opinion support should be directed towards the  charities delivering the food and service.

A Dickens of a Going on at The Retailers Charity

FASHION & TEXTILE CHILDREN’S TRUST 257136

In the 19th century when Charles Dickens was chairman this charity was called the ‘Warehousemen & Clerk’s School’ subsequently renamed Purley Children’s Trust, The Textile Industry’s  Children’s Trust and now glorying under the current name and focus. It helps the children of folk who have worked for more than a year in clothing retail, clothing manufacture, laundry or fashion.

Even today these sectors seldom offer secure, well paid jobs. In the UK the demise of so many retail outlets and foreign clothes imports has added to the stress such a charity may feel on behalf of their ‘clients’. Indeed they have helped 547 children at a cost of £198,184 this year but currently report on the website ‘…just a quick note to say we know we’ve been a bit quiet on this front recently. We’ve had a few comings and goings over the last few months, so things have been a bit up in the air!   ..’

I wanted a charity in this space where I could be positive and able to help as I can envisage a significant need. Large corporate mismanagement, high street closures, pension and redundancy problems must be depressing for staff in these areas. After looking through their reports and accounts  I have a couple of issues.

  • They have £8,950,000 pounds in reserves potentially built up over many decades of prudent even parsimonious policies and a school sale. At current levels of new grant  money already in the bank could cover 30 years further grants.
  • Have the charity added ‘Fashion’ to be in the fashion of broadening their remit to attract more requests from grantees? Is there an inclination to add to the core charitable remit rather than excelling on the real job to be done.
  • Salary costs are conservative but the ‘cost of raising funds’ at £95k is too high when only £36k is raised from donations and trading. The main 95% of  income comes from historic investment income. Hence there is little or no incentive for new donors to become involved.
  • The 600+ year old Drapers Company 251403 makes grants in similar areas including Education and Young People , Social Welfare and Textiles and Heritage with it’s £65m funds. Despite a higher income, reserves and profile I am still not sure they do a better job.

Global Justice Now – Economics of Envy

A membership organisation, Global Justice Now 1064066  is made up of a network of activists and local groups. It works as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world.

Global Justice Now Charitable Stance

Global Justice Now (GJN) was formerly called the World Development Movement and  co-founded the Fairtrade Foundation in 1992.

From their web site they say ‘A few use the world’s resources to generate incredible wealth and power for themselves. Meanwhile, many millions of people are unable to access the essential resources – like food and water, housing and energy, healthcare and education that they need to live decent lives.’

One of it’s campaigning slogans is ‘Act Local Think Global’ but with only 6 staff it is as a coordinator of activists that it has the biggest impact.

GJN is one of over 500 UK organisations including many faith groups, trade unions and charities that are part of the Make Poverty History Group. It may be this sentence that has drawn 160 spam comments to this post by organisations selling ‘loans’ or unwanted debt products, all of which I have binned.12.7.18

Currently working with ‘our friends Campaign Against Arms Trade’ GJN has produced a series of how too campaigning guides.

My Experience

The organisation politically leans to the left, as you may expect from the causes it supports. However it seems to skirt away from direct party political influence. I am very selective when considering the individual activist actions they wish to draw me into.

GJN punches above it’s weight of donations and membership income by effective use of e-commerce for campaigning, petitioning and communication.

The views it takes on international trade helps to put across a different perspective, one that supports the effected poor.

 

 

War on Want Influence

WAR ON WANT 208724 is working in partnership with grassroots social movements, trade unions and workers’ organisations to empower people to fight for their rights. However they are being drawn into antisemitic issues dogging the labour party. Is this charity too political to be a real charity?

 Investigations into War on Want

There have been English charity commission investigations in the past:
  1. The former General Secretary, George Galloway was audited after claims he was living luxuriously at the charity’s expense.
  2. A War on Want investigation found accounting irregularities including  financial reports that were “materially misstated” from 1985 to 1989.
  3. War On Want was found to have been insolvent, subsequently dismissing all it’s staff and going into administration. It was rescued and relaunched in 1991.
  4. The Charity Commission has investigated War on Want, (formerly called Association For World Peace,) regarding campaign activities of a politicized boycott campaign against Israel but the commission did not take any regulatory action.

Previous War on Want Campaigns

War on Want is best remembered for it’s part in the 1970s helping to expose baby food companies aggressively marketing powdered milk infant formula as a healthier option than breast milk to mothers in the developing world. My daughter still will not buy Nestle products.

In the 1980s, War on Want campaigned on the role of women in the developing world, and supported liberation movements in Africa & the Middle East.

In 2010, War on Want’s campaign “Help win justice for the Palestinian people at Christmas” accused Israel of “illegal occupation,” “daily human rights abuses,” and “the siege on Gaza and the Apartheid Wall.”  in order to “launch a sustained campaign against UK companies that are profiting from the Occupation” and to “secure compensation for those who have lost land due to construction of the Apartheid Wall.”

The main purpose of War on Want and the 20 staff is to ‘challenge the root causes of global poverty and oppression.’

There are worse socially divisive things happening within charities than worrying about political motives.