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Monday, April 18, 2016

U.K.: Silencing Scientific Dissent

Scientists in the UK Are About to Lose Their Chance to Speak Out Against the Government

Akkshat Rathi | April 18, 2016

Many scientists in the UK are about to lose their chance to speak out against the government on important issues—from climate change to genetically modified embryos.
The ruling is the side effect of a clause that the British government is introducing on May 1, which would mean researchers receiving government funding will not be allowed to use the results of their work to lobby for changes to laws or regulations.

Matthew Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:
Taxpayers’ money must be spent on improving people’s lives and spreading opportunities, not wasted on the farce of government lobbying government. The public sector never lobbies for lower taxes and less state spending, and it’s a zero sum game if Peter is robbed to pay Paul.
These common sense rules will protect freedom of speech – but taxpayers won’t be made to foot the bill for political campaigning and political lobbying. This government is standing up for value for money, so we can keep taxes down and support better services that people can rely on. 

The exact phrase that will be inserted into all new and renewed grant agreements reads:
The following costs are not Eligible Expenditure: Payments that support activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action.

<more at; related articles and links: (Government announces new clause to be inserted into grant agreements. February 6, 2016) and (Britain’s scientists must not be gagged. April 17, 2016)>

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