19 January 2012

The government is expected to announce its plans for a statutory register of lobbyists tomorrow (Friday 20 January). Ahead of publication of its consultation, Tamasin Cave of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency said:

"The devil will be in the detail. We need a robust, compulsory register to reveal: who is lobbying whom, what they are lobbying about, and how much is being spent trying to influence our politicians. And it needs to be overseen by a body independent of the industry.

Anything less and we can assume that the government is putting the interests of its friends in the influence industry above public demands for full transparency.

David Cameron has voiced deep concerns about lobbying in the UK getting 'out of control'. The government must now tackle this £2billion industry and bring their activities into the open. Britain needs to catch up with other countries and allow real public scrutiny of lobbying with a robust register of lobbyists. Only then will we be able to fully understand the impact they have on the way this country is run."

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency is calling for a robust statutory register, which would require lobbyists - whether companies or trade unions, lobbying agencies or law firms, and larger charities (above a minimum financial threshold) - to regularly declare on a public register:

  • Names of individual lobbyists;
  • The special interest lobbying (either the employer or agency clients);
  • Public body being lobbied;
  • Information on any public office held by lobbyists within 5 years (to reveal the 'revolving door')
  • Area of policy they seek to influence, whether legislation, regulation or 
public contract;
  • Amount of money spent on lobbying (good faith estimate). This will reveal scale, disparities and trends in lobbying.