It’s not been a great year for the LGBT rights charity Stonewall. In May founding member Matthew Parris accused the organisation of trying to delegitimise anyone who did not agree with its views after a free speech row at Essex University.
Stonewall was alleged to have misrepresented the law in its advice to the institution with barrister Akua Reindorf warning of 'potential illegalities' and suggesting the university should reconsider its ties to the campaigning group.
Then in June it was reported that the Ministry of Justice is preparing to leave Stonewall’s diversity scheme as part of an 'exodus' of government departments severing ties with Stonewall.
Now, fresh questions are being asked about the source of the charity's funding. A report released today has revealed that between 2018-19 and 2020-21, Stonewall received at least £3,105,877 from 327 public sector organisations for their Diversity Champions scheme, conferences, events and training programmes.
Freedom of Information requests by the Taxpayers’ Alliance found that more than two thirds of universities were signed up to the controversial programme, alongside 58 health bodies and most Whitehall departments.
Quango Homes England spent the most on Diversity Champions and associated schemes, at a total cost of £45,942, while the former Foreign and Commonwealth Office gave the most of any government department at £19,012.
Since 2018-19, organisations have been paying for guidance on issues such as gender-neutral spaces, pronouns, and transgender inclusion.
Examples included a ‘Queering Children’s Literature’ event (costing £396) at Goldsmiths University of London, ‘Unconscious Bias Train the Trainer’ workshop (costing £1,620) at the South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust and ‘Being A Better Ally to LGBT People of Colour’ webinar (costing £48) at the Bank of England.
At least 20 organisations, including the House of Commons and National Assembly for Wales, signed up to Stonewall’s ‘Trans Allies’ programme or trans training/inclusion workshops.
James Roberts of the Taxpayers’ Alliance told Mr S: ‘Public sector bodies often say they have no more fat to trim but with the spending review on the horizon, it’s clear that savings can be made by ending payments like these.’
Something for Whitehall bean counters to keep in mind ahead of Rishi Sunak’s autumn spending review perhaps.