by Debbie Hayton
Monday, 9
August 2021
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12:35

Why is the taxpayer spending millions on Stonewall?

Far too much public money is being spent on learning how to be a 'trans ally'
by Debbie Hayton
The Stonewall contingent at a Pride Parade. Credit: NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP via Getty Images

Stonewall UK may have started out as a protest but it has become big business. It now pulls in over £8 million a year and pays five figure salaries. That is no secret, but new figures obtained by the TaxPayers’ Alliance show how much of that figure comes from public funds. From freedom of information (FOI) requests they found that public sector organisations handed over no less than £3,105,877 in the last three years alone.

For what? The Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme claims to ensure that, “all LGBTQ+ staff are free to be themselves in the workplace.” But employers should be asking themselves how all this money services that goal. A typical payment, according to TPA, is £3000. Multiply that by 397 organisations across the public sector and it becomes a nice little earner for Stonewall. Last year this scheme coined in £783,923 of public money.

When funds were supposedly so tight that the government announced a pay freeze for the public sector, employees might question why so much money was diverted to things as trivial as rainbow watermarks on employers’ notepads. They are no substitute for a cost-of-living pay award.

Diversity Champions can use the logo but training, events and conferences are charged extra. The House of Commons, for example, appear to have paid £5382 for delegates to attend Stonewall Workplace Conferences in 2018 and 2019. On top of that, they are reported to have spent £5250 on the Trans Allies Programme.

Why does the House of Commons need to pay Stonewall to learn how to be good trans allies? It’s not rocket science to hire trans people and employ us on the same terms and conditions as everyone else. 

Taking a closer look, some individual examples are astonishing. From the responses to the FOI requests it appears that, for example, Goldsmiths University of London paid £396 for a speaker at a “Queering Children’s Literature” event in February 2020.

Organisations might be willing to subcontract policy, but they cannot shirk responsibility. Handing over money to Stonewall might seem worthy — or at least harmless — but when this amount of public money is being spent, it starts to seem like this organisation’s position has got out of hand.

We have stumbled into a situation where a lobbying organisation is taking money from the organisations that they lobby — and in this apparently symbiotic feedback loop, we no longer know who has been calling the shots.

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Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

The lobbied paying the lobbiers.

This scenario plays out all over the inflated compliance industry, from the worthiest to the most pernicious.

In fact you can add the lawmakers who then join the compliance industry taking cash to help you comply with the laws they framed.

It’s a parasitic job creation feedback loop that sucks the life out of businesses and thus becomes a serious barrier to innovation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brendan O'Leary
Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Queering children’s literature. Time to bring back Section 28?

Catriona Flear
Catriona Flear
1 year ago

The government departments and civil servants are weak and don’t stand up to organisations like this. (They couldn’t run a sweet shop.) I have no idea why because the Unions are equally useless so will hardly hold them to account. It’s all about being seen to be “trendy”….why do business improvements and manage your department, when you can go to seminars in Mindfulness and be more visible. Senior civil servants don’t hang about in any job for more than 2 years, despite an independent review saying they needed to stay to deliver, so they are never held to account on anything they do or spend.

D Ward
D Ward
1 year ago

As a higher-rate taxpayer, i feel completely demoralised right now.
Another great article, Debbie.

Debbie Hayton
Debbie Hayton
1 year ago
Reply to  D Ward

Thank you.

E H
E H
1 year ago
Reply to  D Ward

Yet there was no mention here of Stonewall having wilfully misrepresented the 2010 Equality Act in their ‘guidance’. Surely one of the worst aspects of the whole ‘Diversity Champions’ protection racket, one with widespread damaging effects, and needing rigorous examination and challenge. Why no mention?

Last edited 1 year ago by E H
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

And the founders of Stonewall are now opposed to Stonewall.

Debbie Hayton
Debbie Hayton
1 year ago

Some are, indeed.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

Goldsmiths University of London paid £396 for a speaker at a “Queering Children’s Literature” event in February 2020.

A friend of mine has just finished writing his book, but has been told by his publisher that he needs to include an LGBQT character even though this bears zero relevance to his story.

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

That is a must have.
We went to see a play at the Edinburgh fringe festival. It was rather good, except for the lesbian kiss which added ZERO to the play (and would have added ZERO had it been heterosexual).

Christina Dalcher
Christina Dalcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Deleted

Last edited 1 year ago by Christina Dalcher
Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

‘five figure salaries’? You meant ‘six figure salaries’, I guess. I hope no one is working for less than £10k a year.

Richard Riheed
Richard Riheed
1 year ago

Great article – thank you Debbie for your insight and wisdom. Stonewall are a classic example of an organisation desperately trying to find reasons for its continued existence. Great vision and principles to start with, gains are made, profile raised, reputations made…then what?