Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The relationship between charity and the state in Britain and Canada : with particular reference to the case of medical research
Author: Deans, Tom
ISNI:       0000 0001 3421 2026
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1988
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines relations between charities and the state in Britain and Canada: it challenges a common view that government responsibility for welfare provision in this century has rendered charities relatively insignificant and isolated from the political process in both countries. By focusing specifically on medical research charities, evidence is presented to show that lobbying has become an increasingly important aspect of their activity, in spite of legal limitations restricting much of their involvement in the policy process. It is concluded that the law restricting charities from engaging in political activities has had limited success both because of its 'vagueness' and poor enforcement. The only countervailing force keeping medical research charities 'out of politics' to any significant degree has come from volunteers and the donating public, but, even they have had only a limited impact. The degree of political involvement by a charity is now contingent on the policy area in which it operates, the degree of 'hostility' of government policy towards the organisation and its objectives as well as the charity's financial resources. In light of cut-backs in government expenditure to medical research in the 1980s, of the need to co-ordinate scientific investigations, and of pressures from some volunteers to represent the interests of disease sufferers, as well as a number of other factors, British and Canadian medical research charities have been drawn increasingly into the political process. This evidence suggests that charity-state relations have changed dramatically since the 19th century when charities not only resisted state encroachment into many areas of social welfare, but devoted much of their resources towards encouraging state withdrawal from areas where tax revenues were already being applied. Now charities frequently criticize government policies aimed at cutting-back state funding for programmes in policy areas where charities are operating and also propose new legislation to ensure minimum levels and quality of state-funded services. Given this, the nature of charity-state relations has changed dramatically and has created difficulties for legislators who have had to reconcile the non-political qualities of philanthropy- including altruism, and community participation - with the reality that much charitable activity is devoted to participating in the policy process. In conclusion the blurring of the distinction between philanthropy and politics has meant that charities have begun to resemble more traditional forms of interest groups while at the same time maintaining their privileged 'tax exempt status'. This is a particularly interesting development given that many British and Canadian medical research charities have been co-opted by pharmaceutical companies to participate in a number of that industry's lobbying campaigns in return for corporate donations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare