Let's call a thing what it is shall we, a spade is a spade after all


It's not so much the pettifogging that annoys, although there is a tinge of that, it's the hijacking of an honourable description that really irks:

A typical household has 40 plastic carrier bags stashed away at home, ministers have claimed, as new figures showed the number of bags used by shoppers rose for the fifth year running. British shoppers took home more than 8.5 billion single-use carrier bags from supermarkets in 2014, 200 million more than in the previous year, figures from charity WRAP show.

Charity: the giving of money to aid mariners in peril on the seas perhaps. Or alms to house the destitute. But the most important part of the description is voluntary.

Following the review we worked closely with Defra to develop a programme of work, in line with sharpening our strategic focus, that will make a significant contribution to helping the UK achieve its environmental objectives and obligations, such as achieving the 50% household recycling rates by 2020, but at less cost. As a result grant funding from Defra for 2014/15 has been confirmed at £17.6m (2013/14: £25.7m), expected to reduce to £15.5m in 2015/16.

Financial Results for 2013/14

WRAP‟s total income for 2013/14 was £65.4m (2012/13: £63.2m) of which the majority (98.9%) was grant funding from government and EU sources. Although the underlying grant funding from Defra reduced compared to the previous year, the addition of the Resource Efficient Scotland programme and the timing of activity in EU funded grant schemes, notably the ARID capital grant scheme in Wales, resulted in a marginal increase in total income.

This is not a charity. This is a tax funded arm of the central bureaucracy. As such it most certainly isn't voluntary.

It has to be said that a caring society would indeed have a place in it for those who get their kicks counting plastic bag hoarding by household. But it's not entirely obvious that those working hard on the minimum wage should be charged tax to pay for it. Perhaps it should be paid for, voluntarily, in a charitable manner, by those who share this minority taste?

At which point we are going to revert to calling a spade a spade. WRAP is not a charity, it is a collection of tax leeches.