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By Richard J. Smethurst

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Sample text

The first was the original Nolan Inquiry, which the author gave evidence to in 1995. This recommended the appointment of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, a recommendation which was accepted and acted upon. It also recommended the setting up of a register of lobbyists – a recommendation which was not acted upon. There have also been two Commons select committee inquiries into lobbying in recent history. In 1991 the Select Committee on Members’ Interests recommended the setting up of the Register of Members’ Interests.

The government can also be a very direct source of funding for business. It spends some £600bn a year, making it by far the biggest customer in the country. It also underwrites a substantial proportion of British business’s exports through the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD). For several important British industries the government is far and away the biggest customer. For the British defence industry (nowadays dominated by BAE Systems) the government is easily the biggest domestic customer – for obvious reasons.

Equally, if your profile is very low, they might not consider it worthwhile consulting you even if they are aware of your existence. However, the main reason for mounting a profile raising campaign is so that politicians and civil servants are made aware of who you are and what you do. This has the practical effect that when an issue of concern actually does arise, those politicians and civil servants are already aware of who you are, and they will be better disposed towards accepting your right to enter in to the debate.

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