How well is the far-right doing in Britain? Given that the country is undergoing a prolonged period of economic hardship and general hostility to immigration, and given media reports of a rise in the overall number of far-right organisations, one might expect these movements to be flourishing. However, according to a new report by the anti-racism monitoring group Hope not Hate, far-right movements are at their weakest for 20 years.

The annual State of Hate report, released today, explains that those new groups are actually the result of splits within larger networks, rather than an overall increase in support. The two main organisations of the British far-right – the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL) – are both splintered, directionless, and suffering from a lack of leadership.

The BNP was essentially wiped out in the May 2014 elections, which saw leader Nick Griffin lose his seat in the European Parliament. The party once had 58 councillors and 2 MEPs; it now has two councillors and no MEPs. In October, he was removed as leader of the party after 15 years. The authors of the report suggest that the rise of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) has contributed to the failure of the BNP as an electoral force; they stress that Ukip isn’t a far-right party, but suggest that it has poached some BNP votes. Several years ago, the EDL was able to attract thousands of people to its aggressive street protests. But it has become increasingly fragmented and moorless after leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, stood down as leader in October 2013.

This lack of leadership in the two biggest far-right movements has meant that events in 2014 that would usually have been used to recruit new members have not actually resulted in an increase of support. Last year saw the Rotherham grooming scandal, a rise in immigration, and a growing terror threat in the form of British jihadis returning from Syria. Yet despite strong online activity from far-right groups, including new organisations like Britain First, there has not been any significant action on the streets of Britain.

"One of the problems facing the British far right is over its own identity," says the report. "The British far right enters 2015 as a divided and weak movement but, while this is likely to remain the case over the next year, the conditions exist for this to change very quickly."

The report notes that there has been a rise in the number of teenage neo-Nazis, many of whom are affiliated with a group called National Action. It also flags up the risk of lone wolves. Serving solider Ryan McGee – who had links to the EDL but was said to be acting alone – was jailed late last year after a nail bomb and a cache of weapons were found at his house.

In Germany, the anti-Islamisation Pegida movement has brought thousands of people out onto the streets. While none of the groups currently active in the UK are capable of mobilising such support, it is not outside the bounds of possibility that this will change. The report notes that if Lennon/Robinson makes a return to frontline politics, as some are urging him to do, that things could rapidly take a turn for the worse.

For more information, visit Hope not Hate.