Government and Institutions

IEA welcomes move to prevent state-funded lobbying


Press Release

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New guidance and anti-sock puppet clause are welcomed

For several years, the IEA has made the case against taxpayers’ money being spent on political campaigning, calling for charity independence from the government to be underpinned by rules that make public sector funding conditional on it not being used for lobbying.

Today, the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP has announced that the Department for Communities and Local Government has become the first government department to insert an anti-sock puppet clause in grant agreements, and has issued new guidance to stop Local Enterprise Partnerships hiring lobbyists.

Commenting on the announcement, Christopher Snowdon, author of the IEA’s research on ‘sock puppets’, said:

“It is madness for the government to be giving taxpayers’ money to organisations which then proceed to lobby the government, often for more money. Not only is it a waste of public funds, it is profoundly undemocratic. I’m delighted that DCLG is taking a stand against this sock-puppetry and I hope other departments will follow suit.”

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview please contact Stephanie Lis, Head of Communications: 0207 799 8900 or 07766 221 268.

To read the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP’s full written Ministerial Statement, click here.

The Institute of Economic Affairs has published extensive research on the practice of government lobbying government. Reports can be found here and here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.
The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.