There is considerable mistrust by the public about charities.  That far too much money goes on administration, or that much of the money disappears.  The press are keen on these stories, and had a field-day after the Tsunami.   Most charities of course do invaluable work; but there is a minority that are duds or dodgy.  And recently there have been many press revelations about charities that are essentially businesses  – businesses that wish to avoid tax.

The Charities commission have had insufficient resources  to sufficiently investigate enough dodgy charities.  But there is one easy step towards greater transparency.  To oblige all charities to publish the salaries of the key top executives.  It is reasonable to ask for this: partly because of their tax status, they get great financial benefits from the government.  Other institutions, such as the army, publish their salaries, as of course the salaries of, say, cabinet ministers are public. Also it would diminish some of the current abuses by the dodgier charities.

Of course, there would at first be some public howls of outrage by those who don’t realize that charities need to hire the very best executives, and thus pay them quite well;  but in the long term  it would be to the benefit of  the charities, because trust would eventually increase –  because of the transparency.

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