What are the think tanks saying (and who’s paying)?
The first in an occasional series.
Demos – which styles itself as ‘Britain’s leading cross-party think tank’ – published a report last month on ‘encouraging the next generation of responsible drinkers’ supported by brewer SAB Miller and drinks industry lobbyists the Portman Group.
IPPR – ‘the UK’s leading progressive thinktank’ – also published a report last month on NHS reform supported by among others the drug companies Pfizer and Merck Sharp & Dohme and healthcare technology supplier Cerner.
Policy Exchange – the ‘UK’s leading think tank’ no less – is busy promoting its party conference events, including sessions at the Tory Party conference on ‘building more homes’ sponsored by Barratt Developments, ‘putting consumers back at the heart of energy policy’ sponsored by energy supplier E.On, and whether we need a new ‘business model for government’ sponsored by, erm, Atos.
Reform – ‘fully independent’ despite having been funded by 67 different companies last year alone – published a report on its conference held in June on ‘driving transformation’ in public services, kindly sponsored by Accenture. But the think tank has seemingly been a bit slower off the blocks flogging its party conference events. They cost £10,000 a pop plus VAT if you’re interested, but you have to pay for the room, drinks and nibbles.
The Adam Smith Institute – ‘one of the world’s leading think tanks’ which works to ‘promote libertarian and free market ideas’ – doesn’t reveal its corporate supporters, but for just £5,000 (or more) a year you can become an ‘ASI Benefactor’, which allows you to attend ‘Power Lunches’ with ‘influential figures, including politicians, ministers, journalists and academics’, and also ‘opportunities to meet staff members to discuss the work of the ASI’ (and don’t forget the ‘VIP invitations to our annual Adam Smith Lecture, Ayn Rand Lecture, Christmas Party and Tax Freedom Day Party’!) You might struggle to attend if you’re on benefits though – the Institute thinks they should be ‘time limited’.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Economic Affairs – the ‘UK’s original free-market think-tank’ which is similarly reluctant to disclose its donors but does not, it reminds us sternly on its website, ‘sell policy’ – thinks that the rail industry should be ‘fully returned to the private sector’, government should leave the sugar industry alone, and the problem with healthcare in countries including the UK is that it’s ‘free’. It’s also currently advertising its ‘Beesley Lectures’ on deregulating industry, sponsored by PWC.
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