Accessibility statement

The British Corporate Welfare State: Public Policies for Private Businesses ‌

The post-2008 banking crisis illustrated how the Bank of England underwrites, regulates and effectively insures the whole private banking system – but state support for private businesses goes beyond periodic crisis events such as this. Subsidies, capital grants and tax benefits are part of the daily mix that make-up core corporate welfare provision. And, beyond this, the government provides a host of direct and indirect benefits that enable private businesses to do business.

It is widely assumed that public services are organized and delivered for the sole benefit of citizens. The reality, however, is very different. The more we consider the role and function of different government departments and programmes, the clearer it becomes that they are also designed to bring direct and indirect benefits to private businesses.

These various interactions, engagements and transactions between the public and private sectors together help to ensure that the risks that would otherwise accrue to private companies are socialized, spread out among the ordinary tax-payer, providing the basis for what this report suggests is the corporate welfare state.

This report defines the function as well as the size of the British corporate welfare state. This is a difficult task as corporate welfare is under-under-investigated, under-discussed and under-disclosed.

What the report argues is that corporate welfare is essential to the operation of modern companies and modern capitalism. And much of it is hidden. This report fills in the gaps and kick-starts a better-informed debate about the value of corporate welfare to private businesses. Where is the value for money and transparency in these expenditure decisions by Government?