Government Correct to Strong-Arm Kids Company

Last night it was announced that Kids Company, a high profile London-based charity, would have £3 million in government funding withheld unless its flamboyant founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, stepped down from her role as chief executive. At face value, this is the sort of news item that incenses the left - the government interfering in the affairs of a charity that has, in the past, helped thousands of deprived inner-city youngsters. Another excuse, therefore, for the loony left to harp on about the Conservatives' abuse of the poor and needy.

However, there is a lot more to it than that. The government has not completely shelved the funding, they merely want a trustworthy executive at the head of a charity that receives a sizeable annual donation from taxpayers' wallets. Kids Company has, under Batmanghelidjh's watch, faced accusations of fiscal mismanagement, tales of regular cash handouts to the destitute (a misuse of funding), and mass revolts from senior management over the running of the charity. When there are a series of headlines about a charity that begin with phrases like "We need to talk about..." and "The trouble with..." then something is clearly rotten in the state of Denmark.

Given its excessively media-friendly profile - a charity for poverty-riddled youth, supported by the likes of Coldplay - the left will be swift to jump on the 'Evil Tories Strike Again' bandwagon. But should they? If this was a private company, buoyed by government funding yet steeped in worrying financial issues and allegations of impropriety, they would be baying at the gates, demanding maximum punishment for those at the helm. Yet because this is a charity, that won't happen - and rightly so. The government is correct, however, to demand that Batmanghelidjh steps aside. When a charity receives millions in government funding, designated to aid the most vulnerable in our society, it cannot be governed by a chief executive whose monetary management capability is in doubt, and who has been described as a "South London Sepp Blatter". To allow her to remain in charge would not only damage the charity's reputation, but also the confidence of its donors. So no, Camila Batmanghelidjh, you are not "being silenced", but if you really do care about the young people that Kids Company so admirably tries to assist, you should handle your resignation quietly, and let the charity get on with helping those who need it most.