Think-tanks: Charitable Status

Part of Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at on 9 March 2023.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe)

A number of think-tank charities do exactly what the Minister has suggested, and they gain plaudits from transparency campaigners for their willingness to be open about who funds them. There are others that refuse to give out any meaningful information. They take millions of pounds from American oil companies, and produce so-called research briefings that deny climate change and encourage Governments to ban legitimate protest against oil and gas development, for example. A lot of them are housed at 55 Tufton Street, and pay their rent to a wealthy donor to the Conservative party. They do not ever educate anybody, which for an education charity might be seen to be a wee bit of a problem. What they are in effect doing is laundering money, by taking money from sources that are, by law, prohibited from funding party political activities in the United Kingdom, and using it to promote politically biased research. When are the Government going to get to grips with that, and recognise that a research institution that does not follow the rules of ethics is not a research institution and is not an educational charity, but a political organisation that should be regulated and taxed on that basis?