Minister faces pressure from 122 charities over Lobbying Act
Tracey Crouch has been urged to revisit the 'confusing and burdensome' legislation.
More than 100 organisations have joined forces to call for the Lobbying Act to be overhauled in the latest expression of frustration over the legislation.
Action for Children, Age UK, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Girlguiding and the RSPB are among the signatories to a letter to minister for civil society Tracey Crouch.
The letter calls on the minister, who is a former public affairs chief at Aviva and Public Affairs News columnist, to reform the Lobbying Act to reduce the burden on charities during election periods.
It describes the legislation as “confusing and burdensome” and claims that it "caused many organisations not to engage in the run-up to the recent general election, and resulted in some important voices being lost from public debate".
Tamsyn Barton, chief executive of international development charity Bond, which is leading the campaign, said: “Charities will continue to be silenced on a whole range of issues affecting the people they are trying to help, whether it be discrimination and inequality, or climate change, unless our repeated calls for the Lobbying Act to be overhauled get a response.”
The PRCA re-iterated its opposition to the Lobby Act in response to the open letter.
Simon Francis, chair of the PRCA's charity and not-for-profit group, said: “The action by so many charities highlights again out just how confused and difficult the situation is, due to the Lobbying Act.
“However, we know that vast swathes of charity activity is not covered by the Act and we are working with the sector to identify how charities can campaign with confidence.
“It is vital that the voices of a full range of organisations are heard during election campaigns - especially those people charities represent and the causes they fight for.”
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "The rules on campaigning at elections in the Transparency of Lobbying Act have never prevented charities or other organisations from campaigning on behalf of those they represent."
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