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Scotland Set to Lead the UK in Transparency Over Lobbying

Transparency International UK today welcomes the announcement of the Scotland Lobbying Bill as a positive development to increase the transparency over lobbying.

Nick Maxwell, TI-UK Head of Advocacy and Research said:

“Transparency over lobbying matters. Lobbyists attempt to influence decisions that affect billions of pounds of public spending and millions of lives across the UK.”

“Greater transparency about lobbying can help build confidence that the government is working in the interests of the people, rather than lobbyists.”

“This Bill for Scotland is a far stronger approach than that which currently exists for the UK Government. The UK register of lobbyists is a sham, covering only 4% of lobbyists.”

The proposed Scottish register closes many of the loopholes in the UK register. In Scotland, the register will cover both consultant lobbyists and ‘in-house lobbyists’.

It sets out a strong system for investigations and sanctions, and covers MSPs as well as Scottish Ministers. All of these measures are big improvements on the UK register.

We support the Scottish Government’s efforts to improve transparency and trust in government in Scotland and we believe that this Bill could provide an example of best practice for the rest of the UK to follow.

However, leading the rest of the UK in lobbying transparency is a low bar for the Scottish Government to aspire to. There are ways that the Bill could be strengthened even further – for example, by increasing the scope of communication covered in the register and including contact with senior officials as well as politicians. We hope that law makers in Scotland will take the opportunity to strengthen the proposals to provide a genuinely world-leading framework for lobbying transparency.

Click here to read our report Accountable Influence: Bringing Lobbying out of the Shadows

Click here To find out more on Lobbying and our campaign #TransparencyMatters

*Updated as of 11:59 30, October 2015

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Read 490 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 15:53

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