Lobbying should be regulated. Differences in economic power mean access to decision-makers can be skewed in favour of those who can pay for it, however legitimately. We need to level the playing field.
- Read more about Progressio's position on the Lobbying Bill in our short briefing paper (300k PDF)
- Read a more detailed briefing from the BOND network (download PDF from BOND website)
- Read the report by the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement (1.96MB PDF)
Overall, we want to keep the legislation, but we want changes to be made to Part 2, the part that refers to the activities of charities like ours. Here's why:
Potential impact on policy and campaigning
As it stands, the proposed legislation could mean that Progressio and charities like ours may not be able to bring the voices of poor and marginalised people to political debates in the UK for a year before elections - that could hit our policy and campaigning work hard.
And because some of the political consensus about international development is breaking down - solutions to climate change and the need for aid spending are a couple of important examples - the risk is that we could be accused of taking sides with a particular party in the run-up to an election, risking legal action.
Unnecessary - and unworkable
There is already clear guidance from the Charity Commission for charities' political campaigning (including during election time), which all good charity campaigners are familiar with, so we feel that this part of the legislation is unnecessary - and some experts have warned is even unworkable.
At Progressio, where we have projects around the world founded on ideas of transparency, accountability and civil society participation, we're taking this seriously.
As Carmen Medina, our Country Representative in El Salvador said this week,
“How can we support local civil society in developing countries to push our governments to become more accountable and transparent to the poorest people if a powerful and democratic country like the UK sets this kind of precedent?”
Read the latest updates and find out what you can do to help change the Lobbying Bill so it is fair to charities and the people and communities whose voices need to be heard.