A SCHEME set up by internet giants Google to help non-profit organisations with free software and advertising is discriminatory because it excludes Scotland, a disability charity has said.
Inclusion Scotland, which represents more than 60 disability groups, said it was amazed to discover that the Google for Nonprofits programme only applies to organisations in England and Wales.
The scheme allows charities free access to the company’s online resources and services that businesses have to pay for. Charities can also receive credits for advertising worth more than £6,000 a month to promote their causes.
Bill Scott, director of policy for Inclusion Scotland, said: “Whilst we appreciate Google’s international charitable work we are somewhat amazed that a web-based company should find the Tweed a barrier to its generosity.
“As a wholly Scottish-based charity, we too would like to benefit from the free apps that Google has made available to charities in England and Wales, and think it somewhat unfair and discriminatory that Scottish charities have been excluded from this support.”
SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn said he had written to Google UK demanding an explanation.
“Scotland has a vibrant and diverse charitable sector which makes a positive difference to the lives of people here in Scotland and throughout the world,” he said.
“The combination of talent and dedication shown by the individuals and groups which make up this sector is inspirational.
“This makes it all the harder to understand why Google has decided to snub all Scottish-based charities with rolling out this scheme only to groups in England and Wales.
“The tools that Google for Nonprofits makes available for free could go a long way to help Scottish charities grow and realise their goals. I can think of no good reason for such an oversight on Google’s part.”
A Google spokesman said: “In order to give money to charities we need to verify that they are registered charitable organisations.
“We will continue to seek a solution to this technical process in the hope to make it possible for Scottish charities to benefit from our Google for Non Profits programme.”