Does the IEA engage in political activities?
The IEA is not a political campaign group and charities cannot exist for that purpose. It is however, like any UK charity, permitted to campaign “for a change in the law, policy or decisions where such change would support the charity’s aims”, where such a campaign “must not be the continuing and sole activity of the charity”.
The IEA has, for example, written papers concerning the benefits of a land value tax. We are, however, not a land value tax campaign, nor do we only focus on land value taxes, even in the narrow fields of local or national tax reform. Political campaigns or parties may use our work to support their policies or statements, but it is without any presumption of endorsement from the IEA.
This difference is not always understood by critics but is normal across the charitable and not for profit sector. For example, Oxfam has actively campaigned against changes to welfare benefits, Greenpeace (which has split charitable/non-charitable structure) has been highly critical of the government’s environmental policies, and the IPPR (another independent think tank) has advocated tax hikes to help fund the NHS and social care.
We are also proud that politicians and civil servants frequently seek our advice, whether privately or publicly, for example in testimony to parliamentary select committees. Indeed, it would be bizarre if we turned down opportunities to meet them. But we are not affiliated with any political party or group, nor do we take sides in elections or referendums. Our supporters come from all the major parties, and often from none.