NCVO in ‘Christmas appeal’ to peers on lobbying bill

NCVO chief executive, Sir Stuart Etherington, has written to peers ahead of the committee stage of the lobbying bill this week, asking them to back key amendments to protect charities and community groups from the potential impact of the bill.

The amendments that peers are asked to support are based on recommendations arrived at by NCVO and by the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement.

In the letter to peers, Sir Stuart says:

‘At this time of year, many members of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations launch a Christmas appeal. This year, I’m joining them in doing so.

‘We firmly believe that voluntary organisations should be transparent and accountable, particularly at election time. However the bill as it stands will have a chilling effect on many charities and voluntary organisations when they want to speak out on things that matter to them and their members. The bill risks sweeping those who have no intention of directly influencing an election into its scope.

‘I believe these amendments, if adopted, will go a long way to alleviate the risks the bill presents to charities and voluntary organisations.’

Read the full letter (PDF, 396KB)

Amendments that NCVO is asking peers to support:

  1. Support amendment 165B tabled by Lord Harries to Clause 26, Schedule 3 to amend the range of activities to exclude staff costs.
  2. Support amendment 163A tabled by Lord Best to Clause 26, Schedule 3 to amend the range of activities to remove events and public rallies.
  3. Support amendments 167A and 167B tabled by Lord Harries to Clause 27 to substantially increase the registration thresholds.
  4. Give notice of your intention to oppose the question that Clause 28 stand part of the bill (to remove the provisions in the bill that introduce constituency limits).
  5. Support amendment 170L tabled by Lord Harries after Clause 30 to reduce the ‘regulated period’ to 6 months for the 2015 general election.
  6. Support amendment 173 tabled by Lord Hodgson to Clause 32 to end the use of nil reports.
  7. Support amendment 174 tabled by Lord Hodgson to Clause 32 and 170M tabled by Lord Harries after Clause 32 to change the regulation of campaigning coalitions.
  8. Support amendment 181 tabled by Lord Hodgson after Clause 41 to review the operation of the Act within two years.
  9. Support amendment 159B tabled by Lord Harries to Clause 26, to exclude expenditure that relates to legislation before Parliament during the regulated period. (Update: 10.00 Monday 16 December)

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