Social media users have reacted strongly to a debate hosted on BBC radio that questioned the role of charities in modern society.
Veteran broadcaster Michael Buerk chaired Radio 4's Moral Maze, and was joined by the former Conservative minister Michael Portillo, the senior editor of The Economist, Anne McElvoy, the former Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, Giles Fraser, and the chief executive of the Royal Society for the Arts, Matthew Taylor.
The panel questioned four figures involved in the voluntary sector on issues such as how and on what charities should be allowed to spend their money, the level of executive pay in the sector and whether lobbying and campaigning should be funded by the taxpayer.
The "witnesses" facing the panel included the Third Sector columnist and chief executive of the Directory of Social Change, Debra Allcock Tyler, the founder of the National Coalition for Independent Action, Andy Benson, Christopher Snowdon from the Institue of Economic Affairs and the chief executive of Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett.
As each person was questioned individually, Twitter users joined the debate using the hashtag #moralmaze, with many from the sector clearly exasperated at the tone and attitude of some on the panel.
Musn't forget that charities often speak up for vulnerable people who have no voice, like victims of crime. Not for themselves #moralmaze— Sarah Miller (@sjmillery) February 10, 2016
#moralmaze No evidence to support claim that charities are widely receiving taxes to pay for campaigning. Biggest policy straw man ever!!!— Kathy Evans CEO/CE (@Kathy_CEO_CE) February 10, 2016
The question about whether organisations should separate their campaigning from their charitable activities was one of the most hotly disputed subjects, with those defending charities saying that campaigning was part and parcel of their raison d'être and that most donors knew their donations would be spent on such activiites.
#moralmaze It is utter fiction to think the people who donate to campaigning charities don’t know they campaign. Many are asked to campaign!— Karl Wilding (@karlwilding) February 10, 2016
However, backing for charities was by no means universal, with a number of people questioning the effect that large organisations have had.
Michael Portillo frequently referred to the "quarter-million-pound salaries" paid to charity executives and, although he was not challenged on this during the broadcast, his claims were refuted by Twitter users.
793,000 people. Out of 793,000 who are lucky enough to work for a UK charity, 31 are paid more than £250k a year. https://t.co/qJ7sUkLAv7— Karl Wilding (@karlwilding) February 10, 2016
Some users were left unimpressed with the panel's approach, with claims that the members had been 'uninformed'. Ian MacQuillin, director of the think tank Rogare, summed up what many had thought of the debate:
There was an excellent debate about charities on Radio 4 today where every panellist was well informed. It was on Moneybox #moralmaze— Ian MacQuillin (@IanMacQuillin) February 10, 2016
You can hear the debate in full via the BBC iPlayer