Tom Papworth writes for Liberal Vision

Charity begins at home, or so we are told.

In fact, charities survive off endowments, investment income and grants as much as they do off standing orders and coins dropped in a box. But if there is one thing that surely defines a charity – and distinguishes it both from the for-profit and the state sectors – it is voluntary giving. No matter where the money immediately comes from, ultimately it can be traced back to an act of free (and altruistic) will. Right?

Not, apparently, for vast swathes of the UK charity sector. By 2010, over half of all charity income was derived from state and state-run bodies, and 27,000 charities relied on the state for more than three quarters of their income. No matter what ones view of taxation, one can hardly call it voluntary: it is a compulsory levy, and as such cannot, in any way, be considered “charitable”.

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