One of the first targets for ConservativeHome’s LeftWatch blog was, quite rightly, taxpayer funded political charities. At the time, I supplied a list of the political groups receiving taxpayer funding. Lots of those receiving the most generous funding were environmentalist campaigns.
A lot of the time, the collusion between these groups and the government is so close that you can’t tell them apart. In theory, the Sustainable Development Commission was a public sector body, but in practice it gave a former Green Party candidate a multi-million pound budget for nine years to promote his views, like the idea that we should stop going for economic growth. It was a radical campaign group with a sideline in monitoring emissions from goverment bodies. Thankfully, Caroline Spelman has announced that central government funding for the agency is going to end.
Other campaign groups are still getting loads of money out of public sector bodies, though. Friends of the Earth get over £800,000, WWF over £1,000,000. Smaller groups get significant funding as well, the New Economics Foundation, with their Happy Planet Index telling us we should really be a bit more like Burma, Saudi Arabia or Haiti, get over £100,000; the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre get over £40,000. They use their money to lobby politicians, for public campaigns and, in some cases, to bully businesses.
With the coalition making sharp cuts in the defence and prisons budgets, surely they need to scrap this wasteful and undemocratic spending? We can’t have taxpayers paying twice, once for the grants these organisations receive and then again for the higher electricity prices that result from the wasteful subsidies they campaign for.
We have produced a video on this issue, please take a look and, if you like it, share it around.