A year after the Lobbying Act received Royal assent, the Cabinet Office announced that companies and consultants will have to pay fees of £700 per year each plus £12.50 per quarterly entry, meaning that the maximum cost in the first year will be £750.
The announcement met with a largely positive reaction from the PR and lobbying industries.
Ian Anderson, chair of the Association of Professional Political Consultants, welcomed the long overdue tariff but warned that there were still too many grey areas.
"At long last we now have the charging structure for the statutory register confirmed as £700 per firm and £12.50 per quarterly entry. However, there are still a wide number of issues to clarify with the registrar in terms of the definitions of the guidance for consultant lobbyists. We are actively engaged in this clarification now for our members."
Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, commented: "Our industry has been campaigning for clarity since the lobbying bill started; we’re glad to see that the matter of fees is finally being addressed."
He said the charges were "not as punitive as they could be".
But Ingham called for the Cabinet Office to be stringent in its budgetary controls.
He added: "All of this comes with a warning: the entire cost of the statutory register has to be borne by the lobbying industry. If their running costs are too high, their technology too expensive and the Cabinet Office’s original estimates correct, this figure will be revised and the industry will suffer. This cost is lower than many predicted, but everyone involved has to remember that we are being asked to pay hundreds of pounds for the privilege of being on a register which has less information than voluntary registers that have served us well for years."
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