The Bevan Foundation

It all started with a tweet, last week, someone drawing attention to a post on the Bevan Foundation blog. This post, I think. Doesn’t really matter. As you can probably guess, the Bevan Foundation is not a site I visit regularly but, summoning up my courage (and clutching my crucifix) I ventured deep into this forbidding realm of socialist gobbledygook. Soon forgetting about the post that had drawn me hither as my attention was grabbed by other things I read.

In the ‘About Us’ section, we learn that the Bevan Foundation regards itself as an “independent think tank”, is a “company limited by guarantee” and “registered as a charity in 2004”, then: “We take our name from Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS and welfare state. Although he was a Labour politician, Aneurin Bevan is today remembered for his achievements to make society fairer”. Which struck me as an odd way of putting it; for it could be read: ‘Despite being a Labour politician Bevan nevertheless believed in fairness’!

(In contrast to the websites of other organisations the Bevan Foundation’s seems somewhat reluctant to give its company number, 04175018; and its charity number, 1104191. This is how it should be dERDFone.)

At the foot of the page I came across these two logos. The blue one I recognised from having used it, or something very similar, myself. It is the logo recipients of European Funding must use on their communications, websites, etc. In Wales, this money is usually doled out by the Welsh European Funding Office, set up by the ‘Welsh’ Government to disburse EU funding; though when I spoke with WEFO they denied that The Bevan Foundation had received funding from them. The other logo tells us that the Bevan Foundation has received funding from Communities 2.0, a “digital inclusion proCommunities 2ject” offering “free training and support to small enterprises”.

In what I confess was a rather cheeky attempt to get further information on funding I submitted a FoI request to The Bevan Foundation, knowing in advance it was exempted from this legislation. Even so, I received a polite reply from Victoria Winckler, Director of the Foundation, which read:

How we are funded.“Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act for information about the Bevan Foundation.  The Bevan Foundation is not a public body, nor does it receive sufficient public funding for it to be considered as such, and it is therefore not covered by the Act. You will however find information about the Foundation’s income, including our audited accounts, on the Charity Commission’s website.”

According to the panel, taken from its website, The Bevan Foundation “doesn’t get funding from government or any political party”, yet the ‘Welsh’ Government logo linked to the ERDF logo suggests otherwise. And seeing as Labour has been in power since 1999 it rather undermines the claim to be getting no funding from government or any political party. (Getting the funding at one remove doesn’t change anything.) Equally untrue is the claim that The Foundation is an “independent think tank”. It was set up in 2001 by Labour politicians to counter the Institute for Welsh Affairs, which Labour thinks is too ‘Nashie’. It may have been entirely co-incidental that 2001 was also the year the European lucre started rolling into Wales.

Returning to Communities.2, this funding is distributed by another outfit with Labour links, the Wales Co-operative Centre and a few ‘partner’ organisations (one being the in-a-hole-and-still-digging corruptionCarmarthenshire County Council). So where does the Co-op get the money from? Well, that’s the ‘Welsh’ Government again. And where does the ‘Welsh’ Government get the money from? Again, from those generous people on the Continent through the European Regional Development Fund. Two logos, same money, same source.

I sent a further e-mail seeking a breakdown of the rather vague ‘Research income’ given in the documents submitted to the Charity Commission (£60,731 for the year ended 2012; £84,976 for the previous year). This elicited another polite response from Ms Winckler saying that the exact amounts were confidential, but the organisations for which the Foundation had worked could be found elsewhere in the report submitted to the Charity Commission. So I looked. (Incidentally, let me make it clear that I responded in kind. This was a brief but very civilised exchange. So there!)

If I have read and understood the report . . . the bodies for which The Bevan Foundation is doing work are, the Wales TUC and the Wales Co-operative Development Centre. Then, in the ‘Restricted Funds’ section, we learn that it received £4,875 from the ‘Welsh’ Government’s New Ideas Fund, and a further £4,015 from the ‘Welsh’ Government for an ‘Equality Festival’ held in Ebbw Vale in February 2011. (I never got an invite!) Finally, the report also tells us that in 2012/13 the Foundation will be “employing a research office” (sic) thanks to the generosity of (Labour-controlled) Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. Oh, and the Communities 2.0 grant I mentioned earlier, well,  that amounted to a “£4,665.40 package of support by Communities 2.0 to network their computers to a central data storage facility, update their website and for google analytics training. Additionally The Bevan Foundation received 28.5hrs of ICT support and consultancy assistance”. A detailed FoI has also been submitted to the ‘Welsh’ Government asking how much money, and by what routes, has been channelled to The Bevan Foundation, but I ain’t holding my breath on that one. So what have we got? Here’s how I see it.

As the name suggests, The Bevan Foundation is an adjunct to the Labour Party. As such it should not be receiving funding from the Labour Party, the ‘Welsh’ Government, local authorities controlled by Labour, or third parties funded by the ‘Welsh’ Government.

The EU has given Wales money in the expectation that we would use it to drag ourselves out of the spiral of economic and social decline we have suffered for over thirty years. Yet after twelve years of such funding those areas that voted for devolution in 1997, the same areas that qualify for the highest level of EU funding, are poorer now than they were then. This is why . . .

Instead of using the funding to tcorruptionrain people in new skills, on infrastructure, and enterprise, the funding is squandered on schemes and projects that are politically correct rather than economically viable, often run by people who were able to smell the funding from a great distance; schemes that create employment only for those running them; schemes that rely solely on EU (and other) funding and are incapable of growth – not least because of duplication – yet a mirage of entrepreneurialism is created by the funding being broken up and re-packaged, passed on to other third sector groups; allowing grant-reliant charities, social enterprises and community groups to be presented as ‘businesses’. And with every scandal it becomes ever clearer that a disproportionate number of those benefitting from this system are Labour Party members and supporters, often using the funding to disseminate Labour Party propaganda, and other information that might be of benefit to the Labour Party.

It truth, the only real achievement of EU funding in Wales has been the underwriting and strengthening of the pre-existing system of Labour Party patronage, cronyism and nepotism. In short, corruption . . . with the added felony of money laundering. What we see today is the party of power, the party holding the purse-strings, rewarding its supporters, as happens in the Third World that Wales will soon join. Though were this happening in Korruptistan then the ‘serious’ publications in London, Newsnight, even, might take an interest . . . but, Wales? nah, who cares?

25 thoughts on “The Bevan Foundation

    1. Jac

      I know it’s run by the Wales Co-operative Centre, but what I’m interested in is where the funding comes from. The WCC is just a conduit.

  1. it was revealed on an episode of the sharp end last month that eu money intended for some of the yes voting areas you refer too jac…..namely west wales and the valleys….is going to be diverted to help fund the much vaunted cardiff and south east wales ‘metro’ public transport scheme’…..this is happening without a murmur of protest from anyone in welsh public life or anyone at the senedd…..and this is taking place at a time when welsh government cuts to public transport funding have resulted in the decimation of bus services in some parts of west wales……even in swansea – wales second city – some areas are without an evening bus service, while buses in the city stop running altogether after 7pm on a sunday……for more on the metro scheme’s funding watch the show 17 minutes in http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2013-10-10/sharp-end-october-10-2013/

    1. Jac

      I’ve been saying it for years, the Metro project is solely for the benefit of Cardiff. Interesting figures released last week by the ONS show that Cardiff has fewer commuters than Leeds and Nottingham. The Metro isn’t to cater for existing commuters but to attract more. Which can only mean yet more investment in Cardiff and even fewer jobs in the Valleys.

  2. Opera Wynn4Me

    “In contrast to the websites of other organisations the Bevan Foundation’s seems somewhat reluctant to give its company number, 04175018; and its charity number, 1104191.”
    The information is at the base of the organisation’s website home page.
    The fact that you praise a Welsh astroturf organisation comes as no surprise. Next you’ll be proposing Knighthoods for those at the (Non) Tax Payers’ Alliance.

    1. Jac

      Diolch. Unfortunately, the more I dig, the more I realise what a mess this country is in. And the more I realise that, while England can be partly blamed, the real culprits are the Labour Party, and those Welsh politicians of other parties who have given Labour an easy ride. Especially certain idiots in Plaid Cymru, blinded by by false visions of socialist solidarity, who fail to understand how much damage Labour has done, and continues to do, to Wales.

        1. Jac

          Those supporting the IWA come from all fields and backgrounds. As a group, much more politically ‘balanced’ than those behind the Bevan Foundation.

      1. Tigi-dwt

        Exactly, Jac. One could say, since the Assembly has been established, that things have got progressively worse, because it has given Labour more power than it ever had before. Plaid Cymru has proved itself absolutely useless, and has betrayed its core support in the West and North, whilst pursuing some dream of winning over the Valleys by calling itself a socialist party. One only has to look at the state of the traditional Labour-voting areas to see how Labour blights everything. Has their electorate learnt nothing over the last 100 years or so?

        1. Jac

          More power and more money which, used the way Labour has used it, strengthens Labour’s control. The decline of the Valleys is of course the sole responsibility of them wicked Tories up in Lundun. I’m taking the piss, of course; but there are a few hundred thousand ‘Donkey Labour’ voters who believe that, and will keep on voting Labour.

  3. David Waters

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembers that the Bevan Foundation was set up as a Labour front even if it has since wangled charitable status.

    It’s still a new labour front.

    1. Jac

      Exactly. It was set up by Labour to promote a Labour message, which is fair enough. But the Bevan Foundation should not be funded by the Labour party and its associated bodies using public funds. And it’s nice to hear that with councils’ budgets being cut Blaenau Gwent can still afford to fund a post at the Foundation. No doubt justified as ‘job creation’.

    1. Jac

      I guarantee that FoIs have exposed countless cases of money being wasted, so in the longer term that £35.5m is money well spent.

      1. Dredj and Waffel

        I guarantee that the vast majority of FoIs come from media outlets looking for cheap copy. FoIs do not save money and it’s about time a fee was introduced to deter time wasters.

        1. Jac

          No doubt you’re right. But it’s still worth the price to bring out into the open what politicians and others would rather keep hidden. Your liking for secrecy suggests you’re Labour. Not from Carmarthenshire, by any chance?

          1. Dredj and Waffel

            My “liking for secrecy” is a product of your imagination and exists nowhere else.
            Requests for information using the Data Protection Act involve paying a fee so, why not the same with FoIs?
            I am not from Carmarthenshire. Why Labour? – It seems odd in light of recent spooky activity uncovered.

  4. Brychan

    Jac…Have you considered going on a ‘digital inclusion’ course sponsored by the Bevan Foundation?

    There’s a lady in Ystradowen, called Regina, (with an R), who is a recipient of Welsh funding, who can help when she’s not tutoring posh kids in her native Hertfordshire. No formal qualification in the field is listed. Good fiend of Sonia (a self professed voluntary educational activist) who will also look after your pet horses in her paddock while on your ‘anti-poverty course’. This is also supported by the Bevan Foundation, handy if you’re anywhere near Ammanford.

    http://courses.vivastreet.co.uk/computer+swansea-sa9/unlock-the-mysteries-of-your-computer/19775603
    http://www.trainingontap.co.uk/index.html
    https://twitter.com/soniahreynolds

    Of course, if you don’t think both of you digits could be aimed at these two anti-poverty champions, you might want to subscribe to Dr Clayton. Who co-incidentally shares the same surname and mobile phone number as Regina. His video introduction is here..

    http://mikeclayton.co.uk/

    No doubt,all three will be at the next meeting of the Bevan Foundation, fighting poverty in Merthyr Tydfil, at the Grand Committee Room of the Palace of Westminster on 27th November. Please book your menu in advance (vegetarian option available). Why are all the people who are getting all this cash to fight poverty in Wales so English and so posh?

    1. Jac

      Excellent stuff, Brychan. I made the point in my post about these buggers being able to sniff out the funding from a distance. Since we started getting the EU loot a lot of them have moved here, some of them really weird, like this one in Swansea who may have been instrumental in my Google blog being shut down. She actually made enquiries with WEFO asking for a cool million!

      1. Brychan

        Whilst the Bevan Foundation has always acted as a ‘Labour Front’, you will notice that over the last year or some significant high profile Labour Party grandees have resigned from the board of trustees. Mick Antoniw AM and Hywel Francis MP, both resigned in 2012. This is because the Foundation has been targeted and taken over by professional middle class third sector spivs. This has culminated in the new secretary of the foundation, Jeremy Miles appointed from September 2013. He’s of the Labour List faction, a former parliamentary candidate for Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, although he appears to have originated from the same ‘lentil set’ in Swansea. As the ‘equality’ funding stream has dried up following the Malik affair, they appear to have set off in a new direction into the ‘education grants’ funding stream to cream off some EU cash. One to watch.

        1. Jac

          Yes, I noticed that some high-profile Labour figures had left, but I thought that it might have been an attempt to disguise the fact that The Bevan Foundation is so obviously linked to Labour. However, if it’s for the reason you give, then I’d appreciate more information. Especially if they are moving into the education grants racket.

  5. Just to show how good or bad the internet can be for picking up information (or mis-information) how my name got onto this site is a mystery. My company, Training On Tap has never received one penny of Welsh funding, and as for sharing the same name as Dr Mike Clayton, yes, he is my nephew, and sharing mobile phone – utter rubbish. Check facts before you publish anything on Internet or do some proper research and find out how much I do voluntarily in teaching IT in the third sector in my major role as Chair of Canolfan Maerdy, a non profit organisation in the Upper Amman Valley.

    1. Jac

      Not sure what you’re talking about. I made no mention of you in my post. If you are answering a comment then make that clear by responding directly to the comment.

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