Still Hand in Glove?

28 February 2019

Following on from research published by the IEA between 2012 and 2014, this discussion paper revisits the issue of state-funded activism in the UK and EU.

State-funded activism continues to be endemic at the EU level. Most of the organisations mentioned in the IEA’s 2013 report Euro Puppets receive more money from EU bodies than they did in 2011 and most of them rely on the EU for the majority of their income.

In the environmental field, most of the big ‘green’ NGOs have seen their EU funding increase and a multitude of likeminded groups receive grants from a €20 million EU programme.

In the ‘nanny state’ field, statutory funding of pressure groups remains common in the EU and the devolved governments of the UK. The picture is mixed in local government with some groups being dissolved while others are formed. In England, funding has tended to move away from overt pressure groups and towards activist-academics and umbrella groups. The critical new dynamic has been the creation of Public Health England, a quango which acts as a funder of activist groups and an advocacy organisation in its own right.


EPICENTER publications and contributions from our member think tanks are designed to promote the discussion of economic issues and the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. As with all EPICENTER publications, the views expressed here are those of the author and not EPICENTER or its member think tanks (which have no corporate view).


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