Campaign concerned about new campaigning rules

2 September 2013

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In July 2013 the Government introduced to Parliament the Transparency, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. The second reading is timetabled for the House of Commons on 3 September.

Part II of the Bill also seeks to amend the rules on campaigning, and this has raised concerns among charities. The Campaign for Social Science is one of dozens of non-profit organisations that have expressed concerns in a letter to Chloe Smith MP, Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform.

The letter, drafted by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, says that the number of charities, voluntary organisations and other groups that fall under the proposed new rules will be substantially more than before. The signatories have major concerns that the provisions of the Bill are highly complex and unclear, and so run the risk of discouraging campaigning. The new rules would impose a huge regulatory burden on organisations that will be required to analyse and discuss individual campaign actions with the Electoral Commission. The rules would introduce a number of administrative and reporting requirements which are likely to cause a significant bureaucratic burden.

The signatories are asking the Government to make the rules clearer and less restrictive so that charities, voluntary organisations and other groups are able to undertake legitimate campaigning.