Formed as a charity in 1992 with the laudable aim of encouraging children to read, Booktrust’s funding was taken over by the Department for Education in 2004 and it effectively became a subsidiary of Whitehall.
This is wrong. Booktrust dates back to the 1920s. What was launched in 1992 was the Bookstart programme: free books for pre-school children. Booktrust is funded, like most charities, by a combination of government grants and private/corporate donations. The Bookstart scheme has been sponsored by Crayola, although the vast majority of its funding comes from the DfE. But the DfE grant was cut from £13m in 2010 to £6m in 2011, and was due to be withdrawn altogether in 2013 — before the chattering classes forced the government to change its mind.
Authors – whose interest in Booktrust’s continued tax funding is about as vested as it is possible to be – invented new heights of exaggeration.
Newspapers' opposition to the Leveson recommendations, on the other hand, was proportionate and altruistic.
The case demonstrates what happens when a charity whose worth no one would dispute turns itself from a grateful recipient of voluntary contributions into a pushy and demanding recipient of taxpayer funding.
I thought right-wing people loved competition and get-up-and-go.
If the charity's funding is cut, its activity, "whose worth no one would dispute", will simply disappear. The DfE did not propose to reduce the grant gradually, giving the charity time to build up its fundraising. It did not suggest that a different organisation could administer Booktrust's work more efficiently. It just decided that what Booktrust does is inessential.
All it took to save Booktrust’s tax handout was the bleating of a bunch of children’s authors and some parents who could easily afford to make their own charitable donation if they really thought the cause so important.
And maybe some parents who could not?
When funding is volatile — eg, when most income is raised by donations — charities have to keep more money in reserve. They also have to spend more on fundraising and marketing. Booktrust was bidding for and administering £16m worth of literacy programmes with a staff of just 50. That's impressive.
What does it take to maintain the 'tax handouts' to non-doms like Lord Rothermere?
Here's the Mailite attitude to charity funding:
No charity, no matter how worthy their particular cause is should be tax-payer funded. If people wish to give to a charity they will.
- Lesac , Southport, United Kingdom, 09/12/2012 06:34 Rating 92
Booktrust received less than £5,000 from individual donations in 2009. Yet "no one would dispute its worth".