Courting the CBI

The status of pressure groups has long been discussed by students, since Wyn Grant’s initial typology in 1989. So-called ‘insiders’ have always proved more difficult to get evidence for as they operate within the system. However a key example of such a group is the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Representing over 200,000 businesses in the UK, they have shown themselves to be a powerful group; so much so that, this week, the PM, Deputy PM and the Leader of the Opposition spoke at their annual conference – and the focus for all of them was the EU. Cameron rejected claims that an in/out referendum would damage the UK, whereas Miliband pledged to remain in the EU, something the CBI is much in favour of.

So why are they this powerful? Their sheer size to begin with, representing huge swathes of the electorate. Their role in the economy, representing the UK’s employers and therefore important with public opinion. Their expertise – they compete for £150,000 of funding each year to conduct research on behalf of the EU. A useful example of how one factor is simply not enough for PG success.