Controversial LGBT+ charity Stonewall receives over a MILLION pounds of UK taxpayer money every year
Published: 16/01/2023- 15:17
Updated: 16/01/2023- 16:16
Public bodies have donated over a million per year to lobby group Stonewall despite government departments being told to withdraw from the Diversity Champions scheme.
The group, which works with organisations to bring equality to LGBT+ people at home, school and work, has previously been accused of taking an “extremist stance” by a founding member.
Membership for the scheme cost taxpayers at least £709,225 in 2021-22 with 234 public organisations paying subscriptions, according to the Taxpayers Alliance.
Laura Russell of Stonewall (left) at a conference focused on the challenges for older LGBT+ people
The number of paying organisations has reduced from 327 between 2018-19 and 2020-21 as most police forces, Companies House and the Museum of London left the scheme.
But 175 public bodies have admitted to remaining as members including the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and DEFRA, despite Liz Truss pushing for all government departments to leave in May 2021.
In addition to the membership cost, Taxpayers’ money was used to attend conferences, events and training programmes at a cost of £108,602.
Grants worth £403,395 were also given to the charity from public bodies in 2021-22.
The devolved governments were the most generous grant givers with £168,870 from the Welsh Government and £99,917 from Scotland.
In total the figures amount to £1,221,222 being given to the group every year.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance is now calling for an end to the practice of taxpayer-funded lobbying to ensure public money is not being used to “distort political decision making” and savings can be made.
Duncan Simpson of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “Taxpayers should not be subsidising controversial campaigners.
“Some public bodies continue to prop up pressure groups like Stonewall with taxpayers’ cash, despite ministers urging against it and budgets facing a serious squeeze.
Liz Truss pushed government departments to leave their memberships in May 2021
“Withdrawing from unnecessary schemes and cutting gratuitous grants are obvious ways that savings can be found.”
A Stonewall spokesperson said: “We’re proud of our Diversity Champions programme which supports workplaces to create LGBTQ+ inclusive environments where all staff can thrive.
"With more than twenty years experience of supporting employers to unlock the potential of their LGBTQ+ colleagues, it is hardly surprising that a wide range of organisations want to work with us.
"The facts show that Britons overwhelming support LGBTQ+ rights and want to support their LGBTQ+ friends, family members and colleagues. In a country that values and emphasises human rights, supporting LGBTQ+ people in the workplace is not a political or controversial act.
"Everyone, including LGBTQ+ staff, deserves to be free from discrimination and prejudice at work.”