Embargoed: 00:01 Sunday 22 May 2022
Research from the TaxPayers’ Alliance has revealed that organisations that lobby for changes in public policy have received £49,011,318 of public money since 2018, including over £19 million during the covid pandemic.
Nearly £7.7 million was given to organisations actively fighting the government’s scheme to resettle migrants in Rwanda, including Migrant Help, Stonewall, Refugee Action, Hope Not Hate and Instalaw. Instalaw recently issued judicial review proceedings challenging the legality of the immigration deal, while the other organisations signed an open letter criticising it.
The Department of Health and Social Care gave the most of any Whitehall department, at over £30 million to just five organisations, while the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport gave to influential campaign groups including Age UK, Gendered Intelligence, Migrants Organise and Stonewall.
The research investigated a sample of prominent groups involved in public advocacy, such as those signing open letters or campaigning for policy change on social media. Given it is not an exhaustive list of money received by campaigning organisations, the actual total is likely to be much higher.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance is calling for an end to the practice of taxpayer-funded lobbying and campaigning, so public money is not used to distort political decision making by advancing policy positions taxpayers may seriously disagree with.
26 organisations which lobby for change in public policy received a total of £49,011,318 from 192 public sector bodies between 2018-19 and 2020-21.
Six government departments provided Migrant Help, Stonewall, Refugee Action, Hope Not Hate and Instalaw with £7,694,408 in grants from 2018-19 to 2020-21. Four of these organisations recently signed an open letter criticising the new Rwanda plan for asylum seekers. The fifth, Instalaw, issued judicial review proceedings in April 2022 challenging the legality of the Rwanda immigration deal. The government departments who provided these grants were: the Cabinet Office; Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; Department for Education; Department for International Development; Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government; and the Home Office.
NHS Confederation received £28,456,451 in grants and loans from 13 public sector bodies from 2018-19 to 2020-21 – the highest amount given to any organisation. They continue to campaign for the public to keep wearing face masks with their #NotTooMuchToMask campaign.
Gendered Intelligence received £287,954 from 18 public organisations from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport provided the largest amount, contributing £251,748 over 2018-19 and 2019-20. Gendered Intelligence works in the policy and media sphere to promote trans rights, sending over 1,500 letters to MPs urging them to allow those under 16 years of age to consent to bodily medical treatments.
Age UK received £6,591,155 from six government departments from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport provided the largest amount, contributing £3,195,184 over 2018-19 and 2019-20. Age UK advertises the fact it works with over 100 MPs from across parliament and has called for the pension triple lock to be retained.
The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) received £2,092,358 from 129 councils from 2018-19 to 2020-21. Merton council provided the largest amount of funding, contributing £184,593 from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The ADPH is a member-led organisation that makes sure “the voices of the directors of public health are being heard by policymakers”. Significant amounts of councils' directors of public health – though not all – choose to have memberships of this association, paid for by council funds.
The government department to provide the largest amount of funding was the Department of Health and Social Care, supplying £30,340,668 in grants to five organisations: NHS Confederation; the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists; Age UK; Action on Smoking and Health; and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The devolved administration to provide the largest amount of funding was the Welsh Government, providing £584,194 in grants to Action on Smoking and Health Wales, NHS Confederation, and the Royal College of General Practitioners.
- The university to provide the largest amount of funding was the University of Oxford, providing £209,883 in grants to the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Action on Smoking and Health, Gendered Intelligence, and the British Medical Association.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
“Taxpayers have had enough of governments giving grants to organisations who lecture and lobby.
“The public purse should not be paying out to pressure groups who are in turn using that cash to push for policy changes.
“Ministers must put a stop to this needless merry-go-round, and instead focus funding on taxpayers’ priorities.”
TPA spokespeople are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Notes to editors:
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.
TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance operates with no public money, relying solely on the donations of private individuals and groups. More information about our funding is available here.
- The TaxPayers’ Alliance previously found that lobby groups received at least £39,584,172 from 2017-19.