Charity depends on grant income

WHEN registered charity, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), started to take a leading role in pushing for more devolution and a second question at the referendum, I wondered why this was any of its business (“Row over support for second question”, News, 24 June). Charities are required legally to avoid political posturing.

Its annual accounts offer a clue. At the end of tax year 2010, it received in charitable donations from the great Scottish public, the grand total of £550. This derisory figure is barely enough to cover a temp’s salary for a week. Clearly the SCVO is not a “charity” which stands or falls on the support it gets directly from the public.

Therefore, it must be grateful for its wealthy benefactor. We read that, in 2010, its “core grant from the Scottish Executive” was the astonishing figure of £758,000. This is 76 per cent of its voluntary income, the rest coming from membership fees.

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The 2011 accounts reveal donations from the public actually fell to £425, not enough to even hire that temp for a week. Meanwhile, its “core grant” rose to £776,000, or 77 per cent of its voluntary income. The SCVO is also dependent upon “Scottish Government grants” to the tune of millions.

Those of us who wonder what business it is of the SCVO to help Alex Salmond establish a fall-back position at the referendum may be forgiven for beginning to think that it is very much its “business”, perhaps quite literally.

Alistair McConnachie, Glasgow