The BBC has mastered the art of producing guilt-laden telethons. Each year corporate fat-cats and tax-avoiding celebrities are wheeled out alongside carefully crafted VT clips designed to trigger emotion from a docile public, to ask for their donations to a charity that claims to help children. But where does the money actually go?
As you wade through the endless queue of celebrities who’ve waved their appearance fee in exchange for promoting their latest movie, album or tour on UK prime time television, over the last few years a small number of investigative journalists have begun to see through the glossy charade and ask some serious questions about the dubious charity.
An investigation in 2014 discovered that the BBC had kept almost £90 million of money destined to help poverty stricken children in an investment portfolio.
Children in Need has £87,705,000 invested in a range of portfolios, up from £81.2million last year. Another £2.2million is sitting in its bank accounts, up from £864,000 last year.
The accounts reveal it paid £9,000 in fees to fund managers and made £893,000 in investment income.
Even an independent charity watchdog, Intelligent Giving, warned the British public from donating to Children in Need over the fact it uses money to fund:
Two sets of bureaucrats: those who run the charity and those in charge of the organisations to which it gives money.
In 2008 the BBC also faced scrutiny after it admitted that it intentionally kept over £100,000 of donations.
The cash was generated by callers voting after phone lines had closed on about 20 shows, believed to include Eurovision and Fame Academy, between October 2005 and September 2007.
They were still charged for their calls, typically around 25p a time, but the cash went into the bank account of BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, rather than the charities.
An internal audit showed that a number of workers in Audiocall, part of BBC Worldwide, repeatedly kept money back.
The corporation is no stranger to receiving fines from Ofcom for stealing charity money and faking competitions for Sport Relief Comic Relief and Children in Need. Ofcom has previously said:
“THE BBC DECEIVED ITS AUDIENCE BY FAKING WINNERS OF COMPETITIONS AND DELIBERATELY CONDUCTING COMPETITIONS UNFAIRLY.”
One prolific celebrity who frequently works with Children in Need is song writer Gary Barlow. In 2014 it emerged that while he was busy asking the public to donate their hard earned money, he was also sneakily hoarding £20 million in unpaid tax.
More worrying however, is that an investigation revealed Children in Need money could have been used to fund terrorist propaganda:
£20,000 from Children in Need was handed over to the Leeds Community School, in Beeston, Yorkshire between 1999 and 2002.
The school, which also received large sums from other public bodies, was run from premises behind the Iqra Islamic bookshop which the gang used as a meeting place and an opportunity to radicalise others.
Do you still trust the BBC to forward your donation to the people who actually need it?