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Anti-lobby legislation a disappointing outcome

Bill will limit our ability to lobby UK parliamentarians on behalf of some of the world’s poorest people. We urge the Electoral Commission to use common sense in its implementation.

News

30 Jan 2014

The Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill has passed through the House of Lords without critical amendments.

Designed to regulate the spending of any organisation not standing for election for several months before an election, the bill will have an impact on charities' campaigning efforts. Non-governmental organisations may have to divert precious funds to manage these requirements.

"Every year, we ask people to donate money and time to our organisation in support of some of the world's most vulnerable people. This bill compromises our ability to make their voices heard by UK decision-makers," said Kate Norgrove, co-Head of Campaigns at WaterAid.

There are still 768 million people in the world without access to safe water and 2.5 billion without decent sanitation. Sanitation is the most off-track of all the UN's Millennium Development Goals, which run out in 2015 – critically, coinciding with the next UK election period. The complexity and expense that this legislation may bring to our work at such a crucial time is of serious concern.

Ms Norgrove added, "We are not opposed to reform but the extraordinary range of opposition to this bill demonstrated that this was not an appropriate way to go about it. We call upon the Electoral Commission to use common sense and discretion in implementing this bill once it becomes legislation."

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