In our recent end-of-year review we concluded:
“For charities and, by extension, for the Churches, surely the most difficult piece of legislation of 2014 in terms of deciding how, if at all, to comply with it received Royal Assent on 30 January. Inter alia, the Transparency of Lobbying, (etc) Act 2014, amends the provisions of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 on third-party national election campaigns and places additional constraints on “non-party campaigning” in the run-up to future elections and referendums. It came into effective operation on 19 September.”
By the end of 2014, a handful of secular charities had decided to register under the Act including two religious ones: the Salvation Army and Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. However, we suggested that more might possibly follow suit since the obligation for campaigners to register within the regulated period which only ends on 7 May 2015, the day of the general election, by which time the application of the legislation and the extent to which organizations’ spending falling within its ambit will be clearer.