Salvation Army clothing collections company faces criticism over earnings

Newspaper alleges four directors have been paid £10m from the contract since 2008

Clothing collections under scrutiny
Clothing collections under scrutiny

The Salvation Army has declined to comment on newspaper allegations that the directors of the company that runs its clothing collection scheme have earned almost £10m from it since 2008.

An article in The Guardian claims Nigel Hanger, a textiles trader who owns the firm Kettering Textiles, earned more than £1.6m from clothing collections over the past year and has earned more than £5m from them over the past five years.

The article says Hanger and three fellow directors of Kettering Textiles have earned almost £10m from its contract to operate the charity’s clothing collections scheme since 2008. The firm runs the charity’s clothing banks and a door-to-door collection scheme.

The article also alleges that the Salvation Army Trading Company, the charity’s trading arm, did not open a competitive tendering process to run the scheme when the contract was last renegotiated in 2006. It says Hanger sits on the main board of the Salvation Army Trading Company. 

A spokeswoman for the charity said it was unable to comment on the allegations, but may issue a public statement later today.

However, the charity’s website says: "Through its clothing collection scheme, Salvation Army Trading Company operates a network of over 4,800 textile recycling banks around the country collecting clothing, shoes and household linens.

"All profits from the scheme are Gift Aided to the Salvation Army to support its social welfare projects caring for vulnerable people throughout the UK."

Third Sector attempted to contact Hanger but was directed to a PR firm that represents the Salvation Army’s trading arm. The PR firm was unable to confirm or deny the figures in the Guardian story.

Kettering Textiles’ website says: "In 1991 Kettering Textiles and the Salvation Army began an ongoing relationship which today, by sheer excellence of service, has become the country's largest collector of used clothing.

"The Salvation Army, one of the most respected charities in the world, uses textile recycling to raise funds for those in need in very many ways. The esteem in which the Salvation Army is held by the general public has undoubtedly contributed to the success of the enterprise which now collects from more than 3,500 clothing banks across the United Kingdom."

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said the regulator was considering whether it has any role in the matter.

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