The aim of this charity was toprovide free books for children from the age of nine months until their first term of secondary school when they are 11. BOOKTRUST: a free book scheme that benefited 3.3 million young people every year has been scuppered by the government.
Booktrust started a small-scale project in 1992. When it was awarded government funding in 2004, the scheme become UK universal. 24 other countries now run a similar scheme.
But - Merry Christmas - 10 days ago, the charity was told it was to lose 100% of its government grant. The Guardian Book Blog suggests the government is anti-reading; I wonder where they got that idea.
The decision to end Booktrust's funding is thought to have been taken to finance the education secretary's U-turn on sport: to provide the funds to have the School Sport Partnerships restored. I didn't realise it would come down to a choice: Fit or illiterate. Perhaps we should hold a referendum?
The Deputy Prime Minister is noticeably invisible again. As the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, championed Bookstart. I understand he is is in a difficult position: it cannot be easy being tied up in a quest to riddle your CV with bullet points.
The government may be working on another partial U-turn. Planning to put poorer children in a queue for some free books. Instead of Booktrust being a positive influence, and open-to-all, they are looking for ways to stigmatise the joy of reading.