Intended for healthcare professionals


Rules on lobbying threaten to gag tax funded researchers

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 29 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1220
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. London

Health researchers and campaigners have warned that a move by the UK government to stop lobbying by taxpayer funded bodies risked stifling research that questioned government policy.

Earlier this month the Cabinet Office announced that from May this year a new clause would be inserted into all grant agreements requiring that organisations that receive government grants spend their money on “improving people’s lives and good causes.” Guidance accompanying the announcement said that government grants should not be spent on campaigns to influence parliament, government, or political parties, and nor should they “influence legislative or regulatory action.”1

It added that grant recipients were still free to engage in lobbying but should not use public money to do so. Any organisation that breached the clause may have its grant cancelled or be forced to repay it.

Qualifications could be issued only in “exceptional cases,” for example if a …

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