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Voluntary Sector

Volume 575: debated on Thursday 6 February 2014

6. What recent discussions he has had with the voluntary sector on the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014. (902438)

The Government met nearly 50 organisations to discuss the provisions of the Act before it received Royal Assent. Those discussions led to a number of changes being made to the then Bill to reduce the burden on smaller third parties who campaign at elections, to ease the transition to the new regime, and to clarify the rules.

Notwithstanding the unseemly haste to rush this legislation to Royal Assent last week, many voluntary sector organisations have deep misgivings about the effect it will have on the way that they operate. Will the Minister show equal haste in committing to post-legislative scrutiny of the legislation so that the House can assess the damaging impact that it will have on our charities?

We have surely now reached the time when the hon. Gentleman and other Labour Members should accept that the Act does not do what he has claimed. He may not be aware that the National Council for Voluntary Organisations recently said:

“We are grateful that the government has listened to the concerns charities have raised in recent months…The”

Act

“provides a much more sensible balance…between creating accountability and transparency in elections while still allowing for charities and others to speak up on issues of concern.”