The UK’s most secretive think tanks have raised more than £14m from mystery donors in the past two years, new analysis by openDemocracy has found.
Among them are some of the most influential groups in UK politics. Think tanks often boast that they have driven changes to the law and economic policy, such as the tax cuts announced by Liz Truss that are blamed for tanking the UK economy earlier this year.
We have rebooted the formerly volunteer-run Who Funds You? campaign, which uses think tanks’ own income disclosures to position them on a funding transparency scale. The project originally ran for seven years before coming to an end in 2019.
Our analysis assigned a third of think tanks – nine out of 28 – an ‘E’ rating, the worst possible score. These organisations had a total income of at least £14.3m according to their most recent corporate filings, yet we found no, or negligible, relevant information made public about where most of this money comes from.