The Scottish Alliance for Lobbying Transparency is an alliance of civil society groups who are concerned about the growing influence of lobbying on decision-making in Scotland. We believe only increased transparency can begin to restore trust in policy making and make ministers, elected representatives and officials more accountable to the public.
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Under pressure from the lobbying industry, the Scottish government has introduced last-minute changes to the Lobbying Bill which would see many lobbyists escape public scrutiny. Take action at closetheloopholes.scot
The Scottish Government has lodged a series of amendments prior to the final reading of the Lobbying (Scotland ) Bill this Thursday (10th March ) One of these amendments provides a general exception of communications made by legal persons, on their own behalf, which have fewer than 10 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff .
Is there a big difference between a Skype call and a phone call? Not really, you might think. One can use video, the other can’t; one uses your data, the other uses your minutes; but you can do both of them with a smartphone and both of them fulfil the same basic function.
According to the Scottish Government, you are dead wrong.
The alleged chilling effects of Scotland’s proposed lobbying register on democratic participation have been greatly overstated, campaigners are arguing today following a new survey of lobbying disclosure in Canada, the United States, Ireland and Austria which has found little evidence of registers deterring political participation among small organisations and community groups.
The Scottish Parliament is about to enter the final stage of debate on legislation intending to establish a national lobbying register and lobbying code of conduct. A lobbying register could allow citizens to better understand who is meeting with politicians in an attempt to influence legislation, regulation or policy.
Scottish Alliance for Lobbying Transparency (SALT)  welcomes progress as Scottish Government promises two-year review  today (28 January) to consider a stronger Lobbying Register, but warns against leaving ‘lobbyist loopholes’ for email or contact with senior civil servants.
In the first week back after Christmas, MSPs debated a Bill to introduce a lobbying register designed to let ordinary people know who is trying to influence our politicians. During the debate, we heard powerful calls from MSPs - including the influential Standards Committee - to expand the register so that it gives a clear picture of lobbying activity. But we also heard some pretty wild statements about the impact of a lobbying register. To set the record straight we’ve busted five myths about the proposed lobbying register.
Yesterday (Thursday 7 January) the Scottish Government disappointed transparency campaigners by showing reluctance to close the loopholes in the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill at the Stage 1 Debate, despite recommendations from the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee and overwhelming public support.
What was considered the least likely change to the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill is now building support between both the wider public and the Parliamentary Committee. Poll figures revealed today show that 92% of the Scottish public want lobbyists to disclose their lobbying budgets.
We agree with the Standards Committee that the Scottish Parliament should consider expanding the information that lobbyists are required to declare to include how much is being spent on lobbying. More details on how this could work.
Members of SALT include SpinWatch, Unlock Democracy, Electoral Reform Society Scotland, CommonWeal, Alcohol Focus Scotland, Global Justice Now, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Transparency International UK.