Last week the Centre for Welsh Studies released a report – Taxpayer-funded charity sector in Wales: Time for reform? This was intended to shine a light on the cosy and cliquey establishment in the Bay who survive off taxpayer’s money without ever having to face the electorate or questioning, writes Matthew MacKinnon, Director of the Centre for Welsh Studies.
For two decades the same cosy consensus has continued to deepen its roots in Welsh devolved politics, anyone that challenges that consensus is fair game for attack by left-wing activists and the nationalist hard-core Twitter mob.
Some asked us, why did you do this paper? Surely the charity sector is beyond reproach? Well, when it comes to taxpayer’s money, there seems to have been very little accountability in recent decades, no one really knows where large sums of money are syphoned off to charities, many of who have very close links with those in power in Wales. They have almost set up a taxpayer-funded charity sector that’s loyal to the Welsh Labour Government and not to the people they’re meant to serve.
To top this off, many of these charities seem extremely political, if you go through their websites as we did and analysed them in-depth, we saw a clear move to engage in politics and economics pushed by those on the left. One charity, Tai Pawb, receives 62% of it’s funding from the Welsh Government, they openly display Black Lives Matter work on the front of their homepage? Many would argue they have no issue with this, but our argument would be, why is housing charity getting involved in political movements who have the stated aim to destroy capitalism and to end the traditional family structure? In my opinion, the taxpayer shouldn’t be funding groups pushing such an agenda.
Within hours of the papers release the digital mob descended, not with the intention of critiquing the report and its findings, but to simply attack those who released the report. We saw members of staff from the charities in question liking tweets attacking the person writing the report.
Claims that we want all charities in Wales shut and that we are evil right-wingers were instantly chucked around in the left-wing echo chamber of Twitter. I highly doubt many took the time to read the report which called for funding to go to local grassroots charities that could be far more effective in combating inequality at a localised level than politicised charities who spend their time mingling in Cardiff Bay.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, let’s not forget, the Welsh Government constantly say they are underfunded by Westminster, they constantly claim they don’t get enough financial support and that is the reason for failing public services here. Yet they are keen to spend multi-millions on many politicised charities, who as far as we have seen, have not shown how this money is resolving the issues said charities are dedicated to fix.
We have just begun to scratch the surface, let’s remember, these staggering sums we released are just 24 charities who received funding from the Welsh Government. There are dozens more similar to the ones we investigated, and many don’t just receive Welsh Government money, they receive UK Government funding, local authority funding and grant funding, much of which comes indirectly from the state. The Pandora’s box is just starting to be opened and those we will expose are not going to sit back and take it on the chin. They will fight back, try to discredit our work and individuals involved with our organisation to protect their taxpayer-funded lifestyles.
It’s clear that certain parts of the Welsh Establishment don’t like having their cosy consensus called out and questioned, especially publicly. They most definitely won’t like it when we announce that our team is expanding and that we are going to be increasing our number of reports and activity heavily in 2021.
Matthew MacKinnon is Director of the Centre for Welsh Studies.