5 Reasons To Stop Secret Corporate Lobbying

The Open Knowledge Foundation has just launched a petition calling on the UK government to stop secret corporate lobbying. In its current form the government’s proposed lobbying bill (which is currently going through parliament) will let the vast majority of corporate lobbyists off the hook. Here are five reasons why we think this needs to change. If you agree with us, then please sign and share the petition!

1. Corporate lobbying is stalling government action on climate change

Researchers and campaigners say that corporate lobbying has delayed government action on climate change. Reluctant to jeopardise their profits or cut their carbon pollution, many firms are employing lobbyists to push back against government regulation – which is badly needed to help save our planet. But the government’s current proposal would not give the public meaningful any information about what corporate lobbyists are saying to officials about government action on climate change.

2. Big banks are spending millions lobbying to stop reforms aimed at preventing future financial crises

According to an investigation from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the financial services sector spent £93 million lobbying in 2011 alone. They have succeeding in cutting banking taxes and scrapping financial reform measures, and they’re set against any reforms that might curtail their reckless behaviour. The government’s proposed bill would not help us see who they are trying to influence or what they are asking for.

3. Big energy companies are lobbying to scrap government plans to tackle energy prices, climate change and more

We know that big energy companies are working hard in secret to try to influence government on everything from granting fracking licenses to setting up new nuclear power stations, rolling back green taxes to fighting energy price freezes. But we don’t know who they are meeting, what they are saying or what they are paying. The government’s lobbying bill would not address this.

4. Big consultancies push for laws which favour their corporate clients and take home over £500 million a year in government contracts

The so-called ‘big four’ accountancy firms, who are reported to service 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, collectively earn over £500 million every year from government contracts and lobby and advise the government on everything from cutting corporate taxes to opposing greater corporate transparency and regulation. The government’s proposed lobbying register would not include the lobbying activity of accountancy firms.

5. The government’s proposed lobbying bill would keep the vast majority of corporate lobbying secret

The government’s proposed lobbying bill would exclude the vast majority of commercial lobbyists from the register and give the rest an easy ride. The new rules would apply to as little as 5% of all lobbying activity, and those they did affect would hardly have to provide any information at all. Many professional lobbyists agree that this is a disgracefully small proportion.

If you agree with us that this needs to change, please sign and share our petition!

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