Charities need to be careful not to bite the hand

Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which must cut spending by £35.6 million, faces a high court battle with disability campaigners who claims cuts to charities have been ‘discriminatory’ and ‘rushed through’. I wonder how much of the taxpayer’s money this council will have to waste defending this case?

Charities and the voluntary sector in general need to be careful not to bite the hand that feeds them when it comes to challenging councils on how they spend their discretionary budgets. Unless they can prove that the proposed withdrawal of funding is just a case of rearranging the furniture and that the council will have to pick up the tab in another way, they should accept that this is just one of a number of incredibly difficult decisions councils are having to make.

The logical fallout from this type of action, is that all councils will build in to their future charity contributions something akin to a prenuptial agreement. The agreement would say that, should the council decide to cease funding the organisation for any reason, there can be no legal challenge. If the charity or voluntary organisation is unwilling to sign up to any such agreement, then they can go whistle!

A credit card non-story and easy street for MPs

Two stories have caught my attention this week. The first one strikes me as something of a non-story once you scratch the surface and is about the amount government depts spend on credit cards. The very terms credit card and government seems to cause Daily Telegraph reports to break out in a hot flush and grab for the nearest keyboard.

Putting aside the claims of 5 star hotel rooms and Michelin star restaurant meals and you see that the majority of the spending is on legitimate items. Using a credit as opposed to the incredibly bureaucratic and expensive claims system I remember from my military days, can only be seen as an improvement. Despite its bureaucracy, that system was open to wide spread abuse, something that is much less likely with a credit card.

The other story that caught my attention is the ongoing storm surrounding public sector pensions. Apparently public sector workers are going to have to pay a lot more in to their pension scheme in order to maintain the levels of payout currently enjoyed. The list of those affected included, doctors, teachers, civil servants and no doubt just about every other public sector worker who gets their pay from the public purse. However, there appears to be one notable exception – Members of Parliament – what a surprise!