New research, released today, reveals the true extent of government funded lobbying by charities and pressure groups. Having back-tracked on the charity tax, George Osborne now needs to tackle government funding of charities.
This report argues that, when government funds the lobbying of itself, it is subverting democracy and debasing the concept of charity. It is also an unnecessary and wasteful use of taxpayers’ money. By skewing the public debate and political process in this way, genuine civil society is being cold-shouldered.
Sock Puppets: How the government lobbies itself and why, by Christopher Snowdon, shows that:
- In the last 15 years, state funding of charities in Britain has increased significantly. 27,000 charities are now dependent on the government for more than 75 per cent of their income and the ‘voluntary sector’ receives more money from the state than it receives in voluntary donations.
- State funding weakens the independence of charities, making them less inclined to criticise government policy. This can create a ‘sock puppet’ version of civil society giving the illusion of grassroots support for new legislation. These state-funded