Who Funds The TaxPayer's Alliance?

by @edent | # # # | 7 comments | Read ~2,452 times.

One of the first rules of setting up a political lobby group is that you should have a name which defies opposition. Who in their right mind would be against “Citizens For Prosperity” or “The People’s Democratic Society” or “Ministry of Peace” – why only a violent Communist! That’s who!

It is this spirit that the “TaxPayers’ Alliance” was named. We’re all tax payers, aren’t we? It’s so wide a name as to be meaningless. Yet its name has connotations of inclusiveness which make it very hard to speak up against.

Much like the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” is neither democratic nor popular – the TaxPayers’ Alliance is not quite what it claims to be. It is a poorly disguised Conservative front which, it appears, exits to push a right-wing agenda.

So, who funds it? Despite being prolific users of Freedom of Information requests, the TPA is notoriously cagey about where their multi-million pound income comes from.

I decided to question Matthew Sinclair, the Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, over Twitter.

Whereupon he started ignoring me. How rude!

We know that one of their directors was a tax exile living in France. Perhaps their fund also comes from offshore millionaires?

Despite what Matthew says elsewhere about having tens of thousands of ordinary supporters – there’s no obvious way to give the TPA any money. Their sign up form won’t take your credit card – nor will their Get Involved page.

Isn’t that a bit odd? Every political campaign group I’ve ever seen is desperate for money from grass-roots activists. Yet the TPA is so flush with cash that they don’t ask for any from ordinary people.

An investigation by the Guardian in 2009 showed that the TPA got most of their funding through Conservative business groups. And who funded those groups? Ah, little taxpayer – don’t worry your head about such matters.

The USA has a particular problem with the corrupting influence of Super PACs – groups of wealthy and anonymous donors who try to influence elections by outspending their rivals. They are particularly corrosive because they are so anonymous – is Super PAC X campaigning for lower social security payouts because they’re a group of thousands of disgruntled poor people aghast at receiving so much largesse – or are they one or two mad billionaires who want to see people suffer?

Even if the TPA are now only funded by people who pay tax in the UK, that’s a damned broad church. It encompasses everyone from the billionaire to the job seeker – from the BNP to the hippy. Do all these people have the same agenda? Do they all want the same thing out of our government?

That’s the question we need to ask the “TaxPayers’ Alliance”. Which taxpayers are they fighting for?

7 thoughts on “Who Funds The TaxPayer's Alliance?

  1. Paul Clarke says:

    A dreadful organisation. Which is why, when some of their people popped up saying actually sensible things about privacy and net regulation, I had to write this post:


    tl;dr their smearing tactics massively devalue any position they might take on liberty

  2. They seem to have a massive hatred of HS2, which makes me wonder where their money is coming from as well.

  3. Simon Holmes says:

    Given the amount of airtime they’re given, Mark Littlewood on R4 yet again this morning, they ought to come clean about their funding and the BBC should make the listeners aware.

  4. Sylar says:

    Powerbase is your friend. This isn’t a full list of donors. The rest of the article is well worth a read. http://powerbase.info/index.php/Taxpayers_Alliance#Donors

  5. David says:

    It appears that the TPA now accepts online donations;


    Note the careful wording in their donor policy about disproportionate donations *from individuals*; no mention of companies or organisations (Midlands Industrial Council, anyone?)! Given the murky issue of possible taxpayer-subsidised handouts from Elliott’s PERT outfit* I would also take issue with the sentence “We have never received, and would never accept, government grants or any other taxpayer-funded subsidies.”


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