327 public bodies paying Stonewall over £1 million each year

Embargoed: 00:01 Monday 9 August 2021


A TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) investigation has found a total of 327 public bodies were paying into Stonewall's Diversity Champions scheme. Between 2018-19 and 2020-21, this saw Stonewall receive over £3 million of taxpayers’ money.

Freedom of Information requests 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.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance is calling for an end to the practice of taxpayer-funded lobbying, so public money is not used to distort political decision making by advancing policy positions taxpayers may seriously disagree with.



Key findings:


  • 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.

  • The Diversity Champions scheme generated £2,573,779 in revenue over the three-year period. Their conferences, events and training programmes raised £532,099.

  • The public sector body that generated the most non-grant revenue for Stonewall was Homes England, at £45,942. This included £24,900 on the Allies training programmes over two years.

  • 86 universities were members of the Diversity Champions scheme for some or all of the three-year period. This is roughly two thirds of the total number of UK universities. Goldsmiths paid £396 for a Stonewall speaker at a ‘Queering Children’s Literature’ event in February 2020.

  • NHS and related bodies gave Stonewall £466,065 over the three years. In total, 58 health service organisations were paying into the Diversity Champions scheme.

  • The former Foreign and Commonwealth Office gave the most of any government department to the Diversity Champions scheme, training programmes and conferences, at £19,012.



James Roberts, political director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“Taxpayers should not be subsidising campaigners who use those privileges to lecture and lobby. 

“After years of handing over millions, some officials seem determined to prop up pressure groups like Stonewall with taxpayers’ cash, despite ministers urging against it.

“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.”


TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Media contact:

Danielle Boxall
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Notes to editors:

  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at www.taxpayersalliance.com.

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.

  3. The TaxPayers’ Alliance previously found that Stonewall received at least £2.6 million in direct government grants.

  4. The TaxPayers’ Alliance does not receive any public money. More details on our funding can be found here.

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