Little at Large: One, two, three, four, five, lawyer

We've had the Cambridge Two, the Shrewsbury Three, the Guildford Four and the Jackson Five.

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

Now Third Sector can unveil the NCVO Six, the leading sector figures who asked pre-approved questions to spare Gordon Brown from thinking on his feet after his speech at an NCVO event last week. They were John Knight of Leonard Cheshire, Local Compact Voice chair Carl Allen, Simon Blake of Brook, Robin Simpson of the Voluntary Arts Network, Sue Tiballs of the Women's Sport Foundation and Jonathan Moore from the Suffolk Association of Voluntary Organisations. So congratulations to them; oh, and thanks to the Cabinet Office for permission to name them.

- The Institute of Fundraising is laudably trying to get the Government to re-examine the disastrous corporate Gift Aid system, which now subsidises companies with tax relief for making often paltry donations. What the institute neglects to mention, according to those around in 2000, when the change was made, is that the system is not simply the result of the perfidious machinations of corporate tax avoiders. Some of the sector's leading lights were in favour of taking the reliefs away from charities and giving them to business. The logic was pure apple pie - higher rates of giving in the US were thought to be the result of tax-deductible incentives to companies and individuals. "Fundraisers speak with forked tongue," observes one seasoned commentator.

- Charity lawyer Lord Phillips has been lauded by would-be London mayor Boris Johnson after he nabbed a boy who called him a "paedo" and kicked over his bike in Sudbury, Suffolk. Phillips showed true active citizenship by detaining the youngster until the police arrived. Suffolk Police were not impressed, but Johnson thinks a statue should be erected in the sleepy town as a tribute.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer. mathew.little@haymarket.com

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