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Having to beg for a morsel

A record number of adults and children relied upon food banks in Scotland in December, according to new figures obtained by the BBC. Nearly 10,500 people visited the Trussell Trust's 48 food banks for the first time in the charity's history.
The data also reveals a third of users cited low income - and not welfare benefit delays - for their predicament. 3,005 people (28%) said they used a Scottish food bank due to low income in December, closely followed by 2,527 (24%) because of a benefit delay, and 1,555 (15%) due to a benefit change. The Clyde, Avon and Nethan food bank reported that 77% of people given a food package in December cited low income as the main contributing factor. Many users visiting the food banks at Airdrie and Lochaber also blamed low incomes (50% and 48% respectively.)
The figure is a 13% increase from the 9,263 people who used a Trussell Trust food bank in December 2013. In December 2014, 10,489 people visiting Scottish food banks were given a three day…

Banking on charity? Don't !

Charities lost a protracted battle against the banks.

The trustees savings banks which operated prior to 1986 had a tradition of charitable giving. When TSB Group plc was floated in that year there were established several charitable foundations. The Deed of Covenant dated 10 September 1986 by which TSB Group plc ("the Company") bound and obliged itself at quarterly terms to pay to the reclaimer the greater of "(a) the amount equal to one quarter of one third of 0.1946 per cent of the pre-tax profits (after deducting pre-tax losses) ... or (b) the sum of £9,730".

Following the banking crisis of 2009 and the takeover of Halifax Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group tried to change the terms of its relationship with the foundation. It wanted to half its donation and put its own staff on the foundation’s board. The following high-profile dispute resulted in the bank and foundation formally breaking their links, which will come into effect after nine years notice.

The …

A Class Education

Despite some of Scotland’s most exclusive fee-paying secondary schools charging more than £30,000 for a year’s tuition, 80 per cent of their annual rates bills are being paid for by ­councils – because they are classed as charities. The classification of private schools as charities, not businesses, means the public purse foots almost all of each independent school’s annual non-domestic rates bill – even although they are already exempt from income and corporation tax. As a result, Scotland’s most prestigious private schools enjoy massive tax relief despite charging colossal annual fees while state schools struggle. In Glasgow and Edinburgh, the state schools’ non-domestic rates bill in 2011 was £23.6million, paid for by each council.

Edinburgh’s George Watson’s College, was spared £330,119 of charges.

Fettes charges £27,150 a year for senior school boarders. Its bill for non-domestic rates last year was £209,139, but an 80% discount meant the school had £167,311 taken off. By contrast…

The rag trade - or rags to riches for some

Shelter Scotland says it is "deeply disappointed and saddened" by a sharp increase in the number of shoplifting incidents at its charity shops.

The charity – which runs 36 shops across Scotland - currently experiences more than a dozen theft-related incidents a week. Research released earlier this month reported a 20 percent increase in shoplifting in charity shops over the past two years, up from an estimated £4.25 million to £5.1 million in 2011. In comparison, there was a 14 percent increase in shoplifting rates across the high street.

The charity is asking for police to take firmer action against thieves. Graeme Brown Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We’re deeply disappointed and saddened that our shops are increasingly being targeted by shoplifters but we will not stand for it any longer...To anyone out there who has or is considering stealing from our shops, be assured that we will report you to the police. Shoplifting is a criminal offence and one which we, nor th…

Hungry and Homeless in Scotland

According to the Office for National Statistics, food prices have risen by almost 5% in 12 months, but incomes have not kept pace. Anne Houston, chief executive of the charity Children 1st, warns that the number of people relying on handouts will rise as the economic situation worsens. She said: "One in five children in Scotland lives in poverty, which is unacceptable. As the cost of living rises, there is a real risk that more families could find themselves living in poverty."

The Trussell Trust, which runs the UK's only network of food banks, is helping to feed 6000 people in Scotland, and 129,000 people across the UK as a whole. Last year the Trussell Trust fed 2400 people in Dundee, 3362 in the Highlands and 375 people at its centre in Glasgow, which opened in December.

John Dickie, from the Children's Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: "This is an indictment of government policy and shouldn't be seen as an alternative to the kind of national action …

Tough Times Ahead

Charities have warned that more Scots will be forced into poverty by soaring prices after the Governor of the Bank of England said inflation could reach 5% by the end of the year. Mervyn King said Britain faces a long slow recovery from its financial woes. Families and pensioners will be among the worst hit as fuel, food and clothing costs soar should the prediction by Mervyn King come true. With consumer spending being squeezed and wages failing to keep pace with the rising cost of living, charities believe many families and pensioners will be the worst hit.

The Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland claimed many children could suffer as parents struggle to make ends meet. “If prices continue to rise, we’re going to see a significant increase in child poverty and this is going to have an impact on factors such as children’s health and education outcomes. Families are really struggling as living costs are rising rapidly and incomes aren’t moving to match them. Lots of families are wor…

feeding the poor

Mary's Meals, a Scots-based and Argyll-based charity, provides school meals in 16 of the world's poorest countries is now feeding half a million children.

Founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, said"There are still one billion children living in poverty, so our work is not done yet."

Sad to say that the work will never be done.

The necessity and prevalence of charity in a world capable of producing a sufficiency of food, clothing and shelter to easily satisfy the needs of all, is an obvious indication that something, somehow, somewhere, is rotten to the core. The socialist claims that it is capitalism. Capitalism automatically produces poverty which in its turn perpetuates charity. Eliminate the cause, and you eradicate the disease. Rather than deal simply and directly by providing ready access to storehouses of goods, as would occur in a sensible world, there are those who prefer instead to deliver the great mass of wealth to the privileged minority and present tear…

Sugaring the pill ?

The vice-president of a diabetes charity has been called on to sever ties with the group because he also acts as a lobbyist for a drugs giant. Sir Michael Hirst is both a figurehead for Diabetes UK and an adviser to Denmark-based Novo Nordisk, a firm that is planning to withdraw a vital form of insulin from the UK.Novo Nordisk plans to remove Mixtard 30 as a treatment, which some diabetics have used for more than 10 years. Doctors believe the move could cause problems for sufferers and the NHS.

Hirst, a one-time Tory MP, is a former chair of Diabetes UK and now acts as the charity's vice-president. At the same time, he is chair of Edinburgh-based Pagoda PR, which represents Novo Nordisk.Hirst is “retained to act for a number of health-related clients, including Roche Diagnostics and Novo Nordisk”. Services include public affairs advice and parliamentary lobbying.

Tristan Stewart-Robertson, a writer and type-1 diabetic, said: “The withdrawal of this form of insulin highlights the pro…

capitalist wages

A Government-owned business set up to help alleviate poverty in the developing world paid its chief executive almost £1 million last year, a report has revealed. CDC Group's Richard Laing received £970,000 , more than double a threshold set by its owner, the Department for International Development (DFID). CDC is a fund management company which invests in private businesses in emerging markets, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asian , in support of DFID's goal of nurturing the growth of the private sector economy in developing countries.
The National Audit Office found that there was "no systematic evidence on the extent to which CDC investment adds to overall investment in poor countries". DFID was "not well-equipped to consider the benefits of its investment" compared to other aid approaches. It also noted that CDC this year had £1.4 billion deposited in cash in the UK, compared to £1.2 billion invested in businesses overseas.
The chairman of t…

Charity doesn't begin at home

Staff at Shelter Scotland went on strike yesterday for the first time in the homeless charity's history in protest over pay and conditions. Offices around the country were closed as more than 100 workers and their supporters gathered at a rally in Glasgow to voice their opposition to new employment contracts.

The union Unite said that a proposed extension of staff hours would see employees working an extra three weeks a year without pay.Workers are also opposed to plans to downgrade 40 posts across Shelter's UK services, including four at Shelter Scotland, and to make up to five staff redundant. Unite said the walkout, following the breakdown of earlier talks, would be repeated on Monday unless management was prepared to negotiate a new offer. The prospect of a resolution looked unlikely, however, as Shelter's UK head warned that if the current offer was refused, up to 200 of its 850 staff UK-wide could lose their jobs.

Charity begins at home

An urgent appeal for food for families and individuals in need has been made by a Highland charity. Blythswood Care, known for transporting relief aid to Eastern Europe, said there has been an increased demand in the Highlands over the winter months.

It warned that it had already helped 340 people this year and that stocks were running low. The Highland Food Bank gives a three-day supply of foodstuffs to households in financial crises.

Co-ordinator Lorna Dempster said that the Highland Food Bank helped more than 1,700 people in 2007 - an increase of 70% over the previous year, when 1,000 clients were helped

Capitalist Charity

Clive Cowdery, chairman of Resolution , announced yesterday that he planned to sell some or all of his holding and would transfer around £20 million to a new charity The Resolution Trust. The trust will ensure continued funding for the work of Cowdery's financial education project The Resolution Foundation .

The £5 billion sale to Pearl of the group he founded netted him a personal £150 million . Cowdery's stake grew in value by some £25 million in the few weeks between him announcing a merger with Friends Provident, with Resolution shares at 616p, and selling to rival Hugh Osmond of Pearl for 720p, thanks partly to sparking a bidding war between Pearl and Standard Life. So he can well afford to be generous with his philanthropic gestures . And what , pray we ask , is this charitable institution he is financing .

The Resolution Foundation is an independent research and policy organisation formed in September 2005 to study "how people on low to moderate incomes fair in the m…

Xmas Presents

Ethical gifts are billed as the perfect antidote to the conspicuous consumerism of the festive season. Whether buying a goat for a family in Africa, or the materials to build a toilet, we are told that these simple items can make a big difference to people in developing countries.
Such presents have been growing in popularity and last year Oxfam sold £3.9 million worth of ethical gifts . The charity has this year launched a celebrity-led campaign to encourage more of us to send useful gifts - which may include items such as dung, condoms or even a can of worms - to help communities in the developing world.

However UK-based education charity Worldwrite says that far from being welcome, these gifts are often seen as "demeaning and patronising". Worldwrite also argues that far from encouraging development, buying someone a goat or a hoe for Christmas only conspires to keep recipients at the same subsistence levels year after year. "People in the developing world are like…

Bank Fraud

Elsewhere and if committed by others this would be classed as fraud and the perpetrators would be hounded but with such influence and clout with the State the banking industry can do no wrong under the eyes of the Law , it seems .

Britain's high street banks have raised billions of pounds in funds through complex financial deals that use supposedly charitable trusts which are not donating a penny to good causes . Trusts are set up during an elaborate process known as securitisation, which has increasingly replaced the traditional mortgage model in which banks made loans to home buyers and held on to the loans until they were paid off.
Over the last seven years, banks have been pooling many of their loans and turning them into mortgage-backed securities which can then be sold to large investors.
The banks have been doing this through trusts which they can control without owning, isolating financial risks, and keeping their liabilities off their balance sheets in a way that makes them…

Fitba' Madness

Patriotism - It is all hype .

It is Scotland against Italy for a place in Euro 2008 .
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said all of its appliances would be flying Saltire and Lion Rampant flags on Friday and Saturday to show support for the team .

The Big Match will be worth £8 million (£1m more than the £7m the Edinburgh economy was boosted by Barcelona's pre-season match with Hearts this summer) to the Glasgow economy, economists have predicted.

The Tartan Army is also expected to gamble a record £10 million ( The previous record of £5m was held by Scotland's Euro 2000 play-off game with England at Hampden in 1999. )

Meanwhile, rock group Runrig, who are to perform three songs during half-time at Hampden, have officially launched their Loch Lomond single in aid of Children in Need.

Yup , Scotland still goes cap in hand for charities to alleviate poverty and for the rest of us it is not going to be much different from the Roman Empire and its bread and circuses .

And Italy arr…

Voluntourism

Young people would be better off travelling the world than taking part in "spurious" overseas gap-year aid projects said Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

" Young people want to make a difference but they would be better off travelling and experiencing different cultures, rather than wasting time on projects that have no impact and can leave a big hole in their wallet." - Judith Brodie , Director of VSO


"voluntourism" often cost students thousands of pounds and did nothing to help developing countries. The gap-year industry catered for the needs of participants rather than those they claimed to help . VSO said projects offered to students taking a year off were often badly planned and could have a negative impact on participants and the communities they worked with.

"...we are increasingly concerned about the number of badly planned and supported schemes that are spurious - ultimately benefiting no one apart from the travel companies that organise them…

Old and out of the way

Just how society treats our elderly is becoming cruelly more and more apparent . We had this report , a 108 year old woman having to wait a year and half for a hearing aid to improve the quality of her short remaining life and now we read about this care home evicting an 103 year old woman because she is requiring too much care , or so they say , in a squabble over how much she has to pay for the nursing care . Abbeymoor's owner, Mark Sutters, told the Nottingham Evening Post that the home could not continue to "subsidise" Mrs Collins's care.

Local authority and care services minister Ivan Lewis said " I am deeply concerned at the attempt by the home owner to use Mrs Collins as a pawn in a funding dispute. Whatever the difficulties, such treatment of a 103-year-old cannot be tolerated in a modern care system which has dignity and respect for older people at its heart."

Esme Collins was told to leave after 10 years at Abbeymoor nursing home in Worksop, becaus…

Red Crosses for Johnson and Johnson

Capitalism cares little for society other than as a milk-cow for profits and further profits . Socialists are rarely shocked by the depths of decency that capitalists will go to accrue profits .

Johnson and Johnson is suing the American Red Cross, alleging the charity has misused the famous red cross symbol for commercial purposes. The lawsuit asks for sales of disputed products - also including medical gloves, nail clippers, combs and toothbrushes - to be stopped and unsold items to be handed over to Johnson and Johnson . The firm is also seeking damages equivalent to the value of such goods sold in supermarkets such as Wal-Mart .

Johnson and Johnson claim a deal with the charity's founder in 1895 gave it the "exclusive use" of the symbol as a trademark for drug, chemical and surgical products. It said American Red Cross had violated this agreement by licensing the symbol to other firms to sell certain goods. The lawsuit argues that the firm reached an agreement with the …

Charity and Philanthropy

The cash-for-honours affair and Tom Hunter's philanthropy merely prove the rich call the shots in an unequal society, says Joan Smith in the Independent

Peter Mandelson remarked nine years ago that Labour ministers were "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich"

During Blair's premiership the wealth of Britain's top 1,000 quadrupled.

The Scottish self-made retail billionaire Sir Tom Hunter, promised to give away at least £1bn to good causes before he dies. Hunter has joined an elite club of people who have made so much money that they are able to give away sums that most of us cannot even visualise ...Hunter is usually mentioned in the same breath as the hedge fund investor Chris Hohn, who has promised £230m to a children's charity run by his wife, and the financial trader Peter Cruddas, who is giving £100m to good causes which include The Prince's Trust and Great Ormond Street children's hospital.

Such donations are usually regarded as non-p…

Food Aid Fails

From Time magazine , how the feel good factor in charity does very little to ameliorate famine .

Food aid feels good. Last year United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) coordinated emergency food aid for 73 million people worldwide, with the U.S. contributing 60% of that total.

"There's no question that food aid saves millions of lives,"

YET

"...we're concerned that it's being asked to do too much, too inefficiently, and that by over-relying on food aid we ignore other solutions that could be more effective."

A January report by the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) put the question bluntly: Can food aid do more harm than good?


One-third of food-aid budgets never reaches the intended recipients and is instead swallowed up by costs in donor countries, according to the OECD. Only 15% of donated food is sourced locally . When food finally arrives — often too late to feed those most vulnerable — the influx of foreign products wreak havoc on t…