Forest today publishes a new report, Government lobbying government: the case of the UK tobacco control industry. I have written about it on Conservative Home: The state should stop giving anti-smoking groups public money to lobby the Government. Here's a taste:
A report commissioned by the smokers’ lobby group Forest reveals that the UK tobacco control industry receives the vast majority of its funding from the public purse, and much of this money is then used to influence government to spend even more public money on tobacco control measures.
According to our research a range of local and regional organisations (Smokefree partnerships) are funded entirely with public money through local government grants or NHS/Primary Care Trust funding; some university departments devoted entirely to tobacco control receive funding from central government (Department of Health) and the NHS/primary care trusts; and several charities dedicated to tobacco control lobbying of central government are funded almost entirely by central government!
Two examples: commencing June 2008 the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies will receive £3,694,498 over five years. It was also awarded a £1.2 million grant to develop and pilot several projects to implement smoking cessation services. Smoke Free North West meanwhile secured almost £1.9 million from the PCTs in 2008 to “complement core national funding”.
The Forest report also highlights the public money given to anti-smoking “charities” such as ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) and No Smoking Day.
ASH UK, for example, received a direct grant of £142,000 from the Department of Health in 2009 (£191,000 in 2008 and £210,400 in 2007) plus £110,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government in 2007. In 2008-09 ASH Scotland received £921,837 from the Scottish Government followed, in December 2009, by a £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery to fund a major three-year research project into smoke-free homes in Scotland. ASH Wales meanwhile received £115,800 from the Welsh Assembly Government in 2008-09 and £113,000 in 2007-08.
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You can download the 18-page report HERE. I'm not expecting any coverage in the mainstream media (although a press release has been sent to every daily newspaper in England, Scotland and Wales) so I hope the blogosphere can make up for it. Over to you.
Related blog posts - please comment:
Let's ban 'lobbying' money to pressure groups (Iain Dale)
Smoking: government lobbying government (Dizzy Thinks)
Cut funding to tobacco control industry (Tea and Cigarettes)
Someone turn that tap off! (Dick Puddlecote)
Oink (Velvet Glove, Iron Fist)
About government lobbying government (Freedom2Choose Scotland)
From the Adam Smith Institute blog:
Apart from the obvious waste of money involved here – does anybody know what ‘tobacco control studies’ actually is? – today’s report shows the alarming habit the government has of pushing people around to fit its own vision of what ‘good’ habits are ...
If the government is serious about restoring some of the freedoms lost during the Labour years and scaling back the state's presence in our lives, the anti-smoking quangos would be a nice place to start.
Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers Alliance, has this to say:
Simon Clark, from the smokers' lobby group Forest, wrote on ConservativeHome about the amount of money going to anti-smoking campaigns who lobby the Government.
I don't know about some of the groups his research looks at, like No Smoking Day, but ASH are an outright political campaign. They lobby for changes in the law and it is outrageous that taxpayers' money is being spent supporting private political agendas.
Proposals like a ban on displaying cigarettes in shops will create significant costs for small businesses and there should be a fair debate over them, one side can't enjoy a massive advantage funded by taxpayers who may not agree with them.