back to article Gov pays Greens to lobby it, says report

Government is handing over far too much of our hard-earned dosh to environmental campaigners, who then use the money to further distort government policy in favour of the interests and ideological preoccupations of narrow political elites. That is the conclusion of a report – Taxpayer Funded Environmentalism (pdf) - published …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. The Indomitable Gall

    Erroneous headline capitalisation...

    I reckon you need to change "Greens" to "greens", cos "Greens" with a capital is by convention the Green Party. If the government was funding a political party, that would be a massive scandal, but that's not what you mean, is it...?

  2. Semaj
    Black Helicopters

    Not just Environmentalists

    Look at the amount of cash given to "child protection" charities like the NSPCC or whatever as well.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Taxpayers' Alliance? Really?

    Since when does the Reg start publicising talking points from these gobshites?

  4. DominicT

    Tax Payers Alliance are *not* a credible source of information

    You are kidding, right? You quote the Taxpayers Alliance - a bunch of right-wing nutjobs, as if they are an impartial voice of reason? They are a pressure-group of rich private lobbyists. Their 'research' is worth about as much as their desire for 'fairness', unless by 'fair' you mean a system where the country is run by the rich.

    I suggest you see these chaps for a more reasonable view held by normal people, not millianaires:

    1. PsychicMonkey

      as a normal person

      I agree with them. I don't think I'm a millianaire, but I don't know what one of those is.

      Sure you don't mean millibandaire?

  5. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Who are The Taxpayers' Alliance?

    They are big Tories. So probably they do not pay any tax because they are limited companies registered in Belize or some other place you have heard of but not sure where it is, which is sometimes very convenient indeed.

    1. PsychicMonkey
      Thumb Down

      it's quite a simple concept really

      you monitor the government to make sure that they are spending our money wisely, then we can all pay less tax if it's not wasted.

      It doesn't matter what their views are, they are not paid to lobby for change, they do it because they want to.

      But then it's easier to point and say their rich, what do they know. I really don't understand the people who are anti-tory simply because they don't like the tories. A simple look back over the past 13 years should show how great the other lot are.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The other lot ...

        ... were also right of centre.

        What's your point?

        1. PsychicMonkey

          my point?

          no one ever points out how rich some of the red side are.

          They seem to pull off the I'm like you and people fall for it. maybe the fact that they had to move to the right to get elected should say something itself....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Yes, your point?

            You originally wrote "[a] simple look back over the past 13 years should show how great the other lot are ...", which misses the point that most of New Labour are not "on the red side" but are in fact right of centre. So, again I have to ask you what your point is.

            "no one ever points out how rich some of the red side are."

            Perhaps you are trying to argue against socialists having money. In which case you misunderstand socialism. It does not preclude wealth. It simply advances the notion that a little more of said wealth should be spread around.

            Perhaps you are trying to argue that there are some politicians who publicly argue for wealth redistribution and privately avoid tax as and when they can. What's that? People in power are a bit deceptive and don't always practice what they preach? Yes. On all sides. Let's take a look at people like Ashcroft and Green. No?

            "They seem to pull off the I'm like you and people fall for it."

            Sounds like a bunch of Old Etonians to me. Our current government is even further removed from the daily realities of most people's lives.

            "maybe the fact that they had to move to the right to get elected should say something itself ..."

            Yes. It took that for Murdoch to back them. Of course, I'm just some enfeebled fool who sees conspiracies and backroom deals where there are none. You know, every couple of years I am sent a nice little address book with a bunch of rich and powerful people's contact details in it. Ask yourself why I get this.

  6. Some Beggar

    Would this be the same Tax Payer's Alliance

    that used its charitable arm to dishonestly gain tax relief to fund research and lobbying?

    Have they had their irony and hypocrisy glands surgically removed?

    And really, Reg, you are supposed to be journalists. A key part of your job is to apply a bit of critical attention to press releases, not just blurt out their conclusions verbatim.

    1. gerryg
      Thumb Down

      "dishonestly" are you sure?

      because then you could complain to the Charity Commission, headed by a Labour Party Card carrier unless I'm mistaken. Here let me help:

      Other views include

      Milton Friedman:

      "I am in favor (sic) of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. The reason I am is because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. The question is, "How do you hold down government spending?" Government spending now amounts to close to 40%* of national income not counting indirect spending through regulation and the like. If you include that, you get up to roughly half. The real danger we face is that number will creep up and up and up. The only effective way I think to hold it down, is to hold down the amount of income the government has. The way to do that is to cut taxes."

      *an American interview, it's higher here

      Al alternative perspective might be that offered by Senator Everett Dirksen, US politician (1896 - 1969)

      "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money."

      Then there's Hayek on three types of money: (precised badly by me): "my money, our money, your money, which type do you think I look after most carefully?"

      Of course (HT Guido Fawkes) there's the sanctimonious squad doing what they criticise others for:

      Or perhaps you prefer off balance sheet quangos where even the tea boy is worth £500,000/yr (paid by tax)

      Just wondering what you are actually talking about?

      1. Some Beggar

        Yes. Perfectly sure.

        The Tax Payers Alliance (or rather its charitable arm, the catchily named "politics and economics research trust") is already under scrutiny by the Charity Commission after complaints last year.

        Your attempt to be condescending was terribly sweet, but perhaps next time you get to wondering about something, you could just look it up.

        1. gerryg

          May I suggest..

 try reading "The Rule of Law" by Tom Bingham?

          It explains the concept of innocent until proven guilty quite adequately.

          I know Jack Straw et al seemed to be working very hard to alter that,(e.g., nine Law Lords were "just wrong" ) but last time I looked it was still hanging in there.

          By analogy: whereas Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, Google are only under investigation.

      2. The Indomitable Gall

        Milton Freidman misses the point

        The current monetarist system, ironically enough, relies on this increasing public spend. And also ironically enough, the justification for this can be found in the Old Testament of the capitalist Bible, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.

        As Smith pointed out, our labour is more valuable when we can specialise on a single task. The more tasks we have to carry out, the less efficient we are as workers. A civil service that manages our public infrastructure takes administrative burden off the individuals and centralises it, so it fulfills Smith's criteria for specialisation of labour.

        And then consider healthcare and schooling. In a competitive market there would be oversupply in areas that constituted a "good market" and undersupply elsewhere. That's inefficient.

        And of course all those little things like dustbin collection, street sweeping and all that.... Right now we're hearing lots of people say "when I was a lad, everyone cleared the snow from outside their own houses, now everyone's moaning about the council not doing it." OK, in the snow example they seem to expect miracles, but in the case of dustbin collection, we need that. In the old days you threw your own rubbish onto the cart. That meant being in the street when the cart was going down it. Ask people to do that and you kill the modern labour force, because shift patterns would be impossible.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for falling into the same trap as the BBC

    Neat name, but they don't represent anyone - they're just a tiny pressure group of nutty right-wingers.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    For all the whingers

    So, regardless of whether this group is all nutjobs, bagazillionaires, right-wing, left-wing or whatever other group you're on's a-ok with you about the gubmint pissing away your hard-earned money, innit?

    1. Some Beggar


      But then there is nothing in this article or in the report from which it is cribbed that suggests that any such pissing away is happening.

    2. kraz


      I'm quite left-wing and pretty green but if the taxpayers alliance is accurate in there report then it's something worth knowing about. I do not want my tax money going to NGO's who use it for lobbying. I am a supporter of certain NGO's because I agree with them however it is my choice and my money that I give to them.

      What is missing from the report though is all the other money given to lobbyists. How much is spent supporting 'enterprise groups' or helping out businesses who then lobby the government for lower taxes and less welfare spending? etc.

  9. peterainbow

    ah ha finally others are seeing the darkside of the reg..

    ah ha finally others are seeing the darkside of the reg..

    i find this rabid political views very disturbing on an otherwise very liked website

    wonder who is behind this as it's so out of place within what the rest of the site is about

    the worst thing about the anti climate change people is that it's now irrelevant or haven't they noticed that we're running out of easy energy sources?

    i'm finding living in the UK very depressing these days as it's now in the hands of the nut jobs

    1. Ian Stephenson

      and has been for the last 13 years.


      finished the last sentence for you.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        re "and has been for the last 13 years"

        Only thirteen years, really? Are you sure you don't mean fifty? Have you forgotten Thatcher and her predecessors?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It would also be nice ...

      ... if we were allowed to comment on the climate pieces. Do they not stand up to criticism or something?

      It would also be nice if the recent Met Office report into underestimating temperature rises had been reported here.

      Is this what passes for objectivity and skepticism these days?

      1. Chris 3


        I really don't understand the 'Some random articles don't have comments enabled' stance of El Reg. Usually the articles where I'd like to read comments too.

        Can someone from the Reg explain?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Left-wing comfort zone on display again.

    They've retreated to that safety zone of the Left, which is the shouty abusive protest. The TPA are all evil, tax-dodgers, millyaniayriees, thieves, spivs, banksters - they're probably even Thatcher.

    Insulting your opposition doesn't work. Proving them wrong does. Before the TPA came along there was nobody - literally nobody - prepared to talk about value for money in the public sector or the need to cut public spending. The discussion on value for money needs to take place because it's our money, not the government's.

    Is it right that taxpayers' money goes to groups which then lobby government? Some people might say yes, some no, but that conversation needs to take place and the information needs to be available for that conversation to take place.

    Unless and until the people who object to the TPA's work analyse its numbers and tell me why they're wrong, they've nothing of value to add. I find it particularly worrying when a site like the Reg, which I rather assumed was read by rational people who were good with numbers, appears to have in its comments section the same group of incoherent media studies graduates who roam across the forums at the Guardian.

    1. Tim Cockburn
      Thumb Up


      Thankfully not all ELReg readers are mad lefties. Some of us are rabid right wing nutjobs and appreciate the 'fair and balanced' reporting from the likes of Lewis Page and this kind of article.

    2. The Indomitable Gall


      "Before the TPA came along there was nobody - literally nobody - prepared to talk about value for money in the public sector or the need to cut public spending."

      I distinctly remember the Channel 4 news interviewing people from the LSE, the Adam Smith Institute and various US and UK academic institutions on a perceived need to cut public spending.

      Must've been the mushrooms.

    3. Nuke

      Eh? Literally nobody?

      I don't know when the TPA started talking about the use of taxpayers money, but ever since I can remember it has been a favourite subject for politicians of all parties and also saloon bar pundits.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll tell you why ...

      "Unless and until the people who object to the TPA's work analyse its numbers and tell me why they're wrong, they've nothing of value to add. "

      This report focuses on a tiny subset of lobbying, namely green lobbying. When TPA produces a report which isn't quite so spectacularly blinkered (and at the very least includes anti-environmental lobbying), I'll consider the next step of analysing its methodology. Until then, it's a politicised document and not worth my time.

      "I find it particularly worrying when a site like the Reg, which I rather assumed was read by rational people who were good with numbers, appears to have in its comments section the same group of incoherent media studies graduates who roam across the forums at the Guardian."

      Perhaps there's a whole bunch of smart, rational people who've come to different conclusions from you. Perhaps a whole bunch of them have science degrees, and are therefore capable of seeing (in a bout 5 seconds) why an extremely biased report is not worth basing policy on.

      Why does that worry you so?

  11. Kubla Cant


    How right all the anti-Taxpayers Alliance posts above are!

    If I didn't have the Government to distribute my earnings to all sorts of deserving political lobbyists, I don't know what I'd do. I'd probably be reduced to sending off large cheques to random organisations mentioned in the Grauniad.

    Even then, there's a serious risk I might not be able to dispose of all my money, and I'd have to consider working fewer hours or taking holidays. Perish the thought!

  12. bellend

    TPA are wankers

    Same bunch that claimed the rich are paying 97% tax. Take it with a pinch of salt, eh?

  13. scatter

    Lame Lame Lame

    What a non-story and what a non-report (not surprising given where it comes from).

    For example, it takes Global Action Plan to task for errr... having a view on climate change and taking money from Hackney Council to errr...hit the streets of one of the poorest wards in one of the poorest of London's boroughs, delivering advice and support for households living in fuel poverty during the coldest November in decades. Nice to see that the TPA view that as a waste of public money, what a delightful bunch they are..

    I can't wait for the outcome of the charity commission investigation.

  14. Michael Hudson

    Dear El Reg

    Will you please stop reporting the tosh that the Tax Payers' Alliance keep spouting.

    Thank you.

  15. James Woods

    no different than public sector unions

    You can't have government employees in unions because they are simply using tax dollars to lobby for more cheese.

    Or it's no different than the government financed news companies such as msnbc out there promoting government agenda (while government pays their parent company's to do so).

  16. llerrac

    More anti green garbage from The Reg.

    We know you don't like Green/sustainable/Eco stuff. But at least the ideas that stem from thinkers in those areas can cope with high oil prices, finite resources, too many people, that no growth should mean rubbish quality of life. Ejits.

    Stick to IT!

    Your good at it, an have been since you started. I started reading 12 + years ago. And have even got better!

    Sometimes when this kind of dribble comes up it like reading Lord Moncktons dribble, none of which is true. Please, please, please get a grip. Govt money finds it way every where, lets be thankful the UK isn't too corrupt. If you want to print rubbish like this, go live in Itlay, and comment on their PM, and mafia.

    1. Yamal Dodgy Data

      directive from Campaign Climate Change sent via Eco-Troll alert to "diss the Reg"

      @llerrac: your really staying on message

      Jane should be honoured to know she's now joined Andrew Orlowski as a target on "skeptic alert" ..

      Regular readers may wonder where these trolls originate from and why they arrive en masse.

      So for all the trolls out who've signed up from ccc just to diss the Reg,

      read this Reg article below and foam at the mouth

      It's THE article that sent the eco-tards over the edge.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I beg your pardon.

        The vast majority of your posts are about eco-trolls.

        I rather fancy it is you who has come here from some other website in order to fill it with your own brand of silage.

  17. pAnoNymous

    how about this?

    Ok so the government doesn't give any money to NGOs if it's going to be used for lobbying and corporations can't do the same thing if it's going to be used to lobby for something that gives them a commercial advantage. then lets see where we'd end up.

    The tax payers' alliance do have a point however - why should tax payers' money be used to promote any one political/religious/moral agenda?

    1. Ian Stephenson
      Thumb Up

      So which one are the greens under?

      Political ? well yes they are trying to control our lives,

      Religious? they certainly froth like godsquadders,

      Moral? given their penchant for lying/distorting the evidence (medieval warm period anyone? obviously caused by oil)? I think not.

      Yes I am a tory voter, pro nuclear and a climate sceptic.

  18. system11
    Thumb Down


    While not strictly tech news green policies impact what many of us do for a living in various ways.

    Also lobby groups of any kind should not be funded by the government.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like