It’s one of those dsmal days when the sky seems to be almost draped over us. Whenever I travel by air I always reflect that all that seperates us fron a perfect life of blue skies is a load of muck. And so it is today, but we codgers set about our work with gusto for we have something to look forward to. Tonight the England team takes on the Italians in the Quarter Final of Euro 2012. And they are going to win. And then comes Germany. The team’s morale is transformed and anything is possible. It has taken the powers-that-be a long time to realise that an English manager for an England team is eminently sensible.
Which is more than can be said for the appalling nuisances that currently assail you on every visit to the town centre. Charity muggers by profession, they are widely known as Chuggers, not a term of affection. What they attempt is intimidation. One favourite ploy is to block the intended victim’s path and to pour forth emotional tales of the charity that they supposedy represent.
Over the past week or so, they have been wearing Marie Curie jackets. Each person accosted was told £5 donated would pay directly for 15 minutes of a cancer nurse’s time. You will be helping to save a life, usually follows. In fact it is a downright lie. The Chuggers in question are employed by a company called Tag Campaigns. It has charged Marie Curie £367,000 to run the campaign, money paid out of donations to the charity by supporters who believed that they were directly funding patient help.
Worse still the point of persuading the public to text a £5 donation has nothing to do with the fiver. It is a trick aimed at obtaining mobile numbers which are then passed to the call centre which rachetts up the pressure on punters to take out a direct debit. The largest of the ever growing number of fundraising firms is The Gift Group Ltd, whose founders own the parent company of Tag Campaigns. The company’s founders and only shareholders are Chris Kazamias and Darren Instrall. Over the past three years they have paid themselves £1.2 million in dividends alone.
The Chuggers themselves are paid £8 per hour and are required to obtain 10 texts per day in their first week, increasing to 25 in the fourth. Bonuses arise once the call centre lands a long-term financial commitment. Virtually no training is given on the campaign subject, in the case of Marie Curie a video was it.
In theory such things come under Eric Pickles, the Local Government and Communities Secretary. On hearing of investigations being conducted by amongst others, the Telegraph, he said;”These are extremely serious allegations. People donate to charity in good faith. Allegations that the public have been misled risk shattering people’s confidence and trust in charitable giving”. Bang on big Eric.
What has been happening reflects badly on Marie Curie. The cause they espouse is a very worthwhile one, they do not need to facilitate what amounts to deception. And they were wrong to put their reputation in the hands of third rate salesmen who lack any knowledge of what the charity stands for.
And they are not the only charity using companies such as Tag Campaigns. From this moment on we should all simply refuse to exchange the time of day with people using Charities to line their own pockets.
Simply put we should tell them to Chugger off!
We are all weary of the endess revelations about tax denied the exchequer by tax avoiders. But it is important since it is the low tax income that creates the need for ever more draconian cuts.
Today we learn that the Inland Revenue has more than 20,000 tax tribunal cases on its waiting list, involving billions of pounds in potential revenue. The department has announced that at present reduced staffing levels it would take 38 years to clear the backlog.
Brilliant! Clearly reports that George Osborne could run a chipshop are exaggerations!