Progressive Vision

This page was last edited on at

This page was archived on 1 October 2020 and is not actively maintained

This organisation is now defunct.

Progressive Vision calls itself “an independent think tank, campaigning for new and liberal solutions to the problems facing British and European society”.1
In practice, its policies are traditional free market liberalism. Its staff have links to the free market think tanks the Centre for Policy Studies and the Institute of Economic Affairs. 2 It was founded in 2007 by Mark Littlewood, the Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, who was Progressive Vision’s Communications Director until November 2009.3 Co-founder was Shane Frith who has been involved in several other lobby groups; currently he is the Director of the Brussels-based think tank New Direction.

Other Original Personnel

Launches Liberal Vision

In 2008, Progressive Vision launched Liberal Vision, to promote libertarian visions.
The Liberal Vision FAQ describes the relationship with Progressive Vision as follows: “In strict legal terms, we are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the classical liberal think tank, Progressive Vision, and describe ourselves as an ‘affiliate’.”4 In fact, there are close connections between the organisations and the people involved, which are outlined here and on related Tobacco Tactics pages. Liberal Vision’s general director Angela Harbutt and Mark Littlewood for instance were partners in 20105, while Progressive Vision has been registered at his home address since 2007.6 Harbutt is also works for the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, which run by the smokers’ group Forest.

Pro-Tobacco Activities

Amend the Smoking Ban

Progressive Vision is a supporter and ‘partner’ of the Amend the Smoking Ban campaign, along with along with the Adam Smith Institute, Forest and the Manifesto Club.7

Anti-Illicit Trade Summit

In January 2011, Progressive Vision and the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association held an “Anti-Illicit Trade Summit” in London. Progressive Vision adopted the industry position’s on tax, display bans and plain packaging. See Tobacco Smuggling in the UK.

The Letter to the Daily Telegraph

In March 2011, Donna Edmunds, Director of Research at Progressive Vision, was one of 11 signatories of a Letter to the Editor to the Daily Telegraph attacking the Government’s position on tobacco control and arguing against further restrictions. Mark Littlewood signed as Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Other Activities

Climate Sceptic

The organisation has a section on climate change on its website. As at 1 October 2009 this section featured an article criticising proposed EU measures to limit CO2 emissions of new cars as “over prescriptive legislation”.8

Against the NHS

Progressive Vision has attacked the National Health Service (NHS). One article, written in 2009, entitled “The NHS as a model is deeply flawed and a change to a more effective system is required”, stated:

Apart from a number of socialist ideologues, the NHS is envied by few outside Britain and if having one of the poorest performing health systems in the developed world is a great British achievement, Britain would be in a poor state.9


Progressive Vision does not disclose its funding sources on its website, saying only that:

We are funded solely by the generous contributions of individuals and companies who support our aims. We do not accept any funding from the public purse. You can donate to Progressive Vision from the donations page.10

In May 2012, when the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath asked Progressive Vision whether it was currently receiving tobacco industry funding, or had received funding in the past, Donna Edmunds replied, but refused to answer the questions. 11 12

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Progressive Vision, Home page, accessed June 2011
  2. Progressive Vision, Cached version of website, accessed June 2011
  3. Institute of Economic Affairs, Website, Accessed June 2011
  4. Liberal Vision, FAQ, organisation website, no date, accessed June 2012
  5. Economic Research Council, 13th July: Mark Littlewood, Director General of the IEA, undated, accessed June 2012
  6. Companies House, Company appointments for Progressive Vision Limited, Reg. nr. 06401466, accessed June 2012
  7. Amend the Smoking Ban, Website, Accessed June 2011
  8. Progressive Vision, “Climate Change Regulation: Climate change is being used to justify unwarranted regulation, while ignoring common sense solutions”, Progressive Vision website, 16 Sept 2009, accessed 1 October 2009
  9. Progressive Vision, “Health: The NHS as a model is deeply flawed and a change to a more effective system is required”, Website, 29 July 2008, accessed 1 October 2009
  10. FAQs, Liberal Vision website, acc 1 February 2012
  11. Tobacco Control Research Group, Email to Progressive Vision, 11 May 2012
  12. Donna Edmunds, Email to Tobacco Control Research Group, 21 May 2012