CCR Magazine

CCRi banner ad
You are here  :Home arrow News arrow FSB: Lobbying laws risk narrowing public debate - Onus on MSPs to deliver increased transparency
Contact Us Newsletter Signup RSS Feeds

Latest News Headlines

Headlines

 
Commercial Credit News

Headlines

 
FSB: Lobbying laws risk narrowing public debate - Onus on MSPs to deliver increased transparency PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 July 2015

Plans to create a ‘lobbyist’ register risk discouraging business from taking part in public policy debate, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned.  In a submission to Ministers, the small business group says the plans break the government’s own rules on better regulation.

The FSB has urged Scottish politicians to adopt ‘open source’ policy making by publishing a list of their meetings at which they were lobbied.
 
The Scottish Government is consulting on planned new laws to force those who regularly meet with MSPs, and who are paid to do so, to fill in regular returns and submit them to officials.  Individuals would have to be pre-registered ahead of a meeting with an MSP, and it is suggested that charities and trade unions could be exempt from the legislation.
 
The FSB’s submission says these proposals pose particular problems for member-led campaigning groups and the resultant confusion could deter their members from raising concerns with their local MSPs – precisely the result the government has pledged to avoid.  The business group also condemns any suggestion that the motives of all charities and trade unions are automatically benign while those of the private sector are suspect.
 
Colin Borland, the FSB’s head of external affairs in Scotland, said: “We are told that Scottish democracy has never been healthier, so we’re not sure what problem the government is trying to solve.  What we do know is that this will mean more red tape for small consultancies and an administrative nightmare for membership organisations.
 
“There is a particular problem for small business owners, who may belong to a local business group and regularly meet their local MSPs.  However the law tries to define lobbying or a lobbyist, some will some won’t be caught.  We know that, where ambiguity exists, people err on the side of caution.  We can’t have businesses withdrawing from public debate for fear of breaching the rules or because the bureaucratic burden is too great.  We need to develop better links between politicians and the country’s private sector, not put extra barriers in the way.
 
“In our experience, our MSPs are one hundred percent honest.  If we really want open source policy-making, the easy, cost-effective answer would be for them simply to declare all meetings at which, in their judgement, they were lobbied.”
 
On the need for a register, the FSB submission states:
 
“The FSB believes that an additional regulatory burden should only be placed on an industry to solve a problem which it has not been possible to address through other means.  Not only has none of the less burdensome options, such as publishing MSPs’ diaries, been tested, the FSB is not aware of any evidence that inappropriate lobbying has been a problem at Holyrood.”
 
On exempting particular sectors from the bill, it argues:
 
“Excluding certain sorts of campaign groups from regulation (such as trade unions or charities) while including others – presumably private sector operators – risks permanently reducing the range of voices in the public policy debate.  It would also send a troubling signal that the Scottish Government views the aims and objectives of the charitable sector and trade unions as automatically benign and selfless, but regards those of the private sector as suspect.”

(Source - FSB Press Release)
 

 
CCRI
3 October - Guoman Tower Hotel, Central London 

CCRInteractive, in association with Marston Holdings , is the largest and leading one-day conference from the publishers of CCRMagazine – a truly national and international event for the credit industry.

This landmark event allows delegates to: Learn best practice of how to increase profitable sales in today’s economy. Understand the key compliance issues and how they will impact upon you. Discuss the legislative and regulatory framework and how it will effect you. Consider the potential effects of Brexit on your business. Discover the latest innovations in the market to improve your collections. Motivate your staff to achieve ever improved results.

To book to attend in 2017, contact Stephen Kiely  or Alison Lucas. To find out more about being part of this landmark event, please contact Gary Lucas
CCRI 

 Forums International Ltd

Forums International Ltd

 Attendance at your first meeting is free of charge, and please quote reference 'CCR2016' to receive the special 10% discount off of your first annual subscription.

Find out more here.

latest issue

CCR Cover

The latest edition of CCR Magazine, the leading editorial publication in the UK credit industry, is out.

Read the latest issue online

The Credit Excellence Awards

Awards 

Tuesday 3 October - Guoman Tower Hotel, Central London


Do not miss your chance to meet and network with the Winners and Finalists at the Credit Excellence Awards, in association with Hoist Finance.


To book your place to attend, please contact Alison Lucas.


subscriptions

CCR is the premier magazine for consumer and credit professionals. It provides an independent voice to the industry, breaking major news stories and running in-depth features.

As a magazine, it works with and campaigns on behalf of the credit industry to promote its importance as a centre of potential profit and business development to the wider business world.

Subscribe to CCR Magazine

CCR World Magazine


 

Providing information and analysis for thousands of senior credit professionals worldwide, every quarter.

Find out more

GTS Media Ltd
81 Cambridge Road
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS1 1EP

Registered in England No: 05483197