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Oxfam's finances threatened by scandal spooking sponsors

Oxfam's finances threatened by scandal spooking sponsors
By Robert Hackwill
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British charity sees government funding threat if it does not clean house.


The British government's international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, is to meet investigators from the National Crime Agency to discuss the sex scandal at leading charity Oxfam.

Oxfam is one of the largest and best-known British charities, which has taken a more militant stance on issues like poverty in recent years.

It earns considerable income from donations and some 200 million euros in grants from institutions and governments, or 40% of total revenues.

Oxfam insists most of that money is well-spent, but not always obviously on those who need it most. For example. Oxfam pays to lobby decison-makers in places like Brussels, where Oxfam spent over a million euros last year and employed 12 parliamentary lobbyists in order to make its voice heard in the corridors of power.

While Oxfam is big and influential money is tight and any threat to institutional support could cripple the charity. Costs are managed hawkishly, and 48% of expenses, or 166 million euros out of a total of 341 million, goes on direct humanitarian aid, with the rest on staff costs, logistics and longer-term aid programmes.

One of those is tackling inequality, and this means Oxfam has taken a more political direction of late, which has led to accusations of political bias from some quarters. 

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