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What is lobbying and what opportunities can it offer your business?

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 28 Apr 2020

Lobbying is a useful business tactic for influencing government decision making, particularly for businesses facing threats such as a tax hike or a new policy that could damage their product or service. Lobbying gives businesses a voice to influence the policies and regulations that matter to their business.

At the Chamber of Commerce, our team members sit on a number of boards and groups that are able to influence political matters. We work to present the views of our members, representing them locally, regionally and nationally, on issues that could affect their business.

Amidst the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we have been lobbying the Government daily to close the gaps in the financial support being offered to businesses. For example, we are lobbying to expand the cash grant scheme for small firms who aren’t currently eligible for support to help them meet their ongoing business costs.

Lobbying is one of the core values we provide as part of a Chamber of Commerce membership. In this blog post, we explore what potential that can have on the future success of your business.

What is lobbying?

“Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence business and government leaders to create legislation or conduct an activity that will help a particular organisation.”

There are two types of lobbying: direct and indirect.

Direct lobbying: Involves direct interaction with key decision-makers and politicians, for example, in the form of written letters, phone calls and in-person meetings.

Indirect lobbying: Involves getting your message into the media and gaining public support that will influence decision-makers.

In the UK, lobbying plays a big role in the formation of legislation. It’s happening all the time, mostly out of the spotlight. However, there are some well-known lobbying campaigns that make an impact and hit the headlines, such as those on big issues such as climate change and Brexit.

Why lobby?

Have your say on the issues that matter to your business

Lobbying enables businesses to make a difference in the political and regulatory frameworks in which they operate.

Policymakers and regulators care about the problems businesses face and it is their job to listen to the views of stakeholders and take them into account when making decisions. They depend on lobbyists to give them the facts and a rationale for or against a particular issue. And they understand they need to hear a variety of views, particularly from those most affected by a proposal before they make a decision.

Lobbying can be used as a tool to influence the conversation around issues that impact your business or product. These issues might relate to topics such as public health, the environment, industry-specific matters, and more. It can also be used as a tool to challenge the legislations that hold you back.

Opportunities for your business

Connect with others to build support

Lobbying campaigns can be far more effective if there is shown to be a lot of support for the issues at hand. Teaming up with other businesses in your local area or industry to lobby for shared issues can improve your chance of getting your voice heard. Companies working together are more effective than companies working alone.

Work with groups who can lobby on your behalf

Anyone can start lobbying. As long as you have access to a computer or telephone, you can contact politicians and local authorities. But without the relevant experience or the expertise, it can be difficult to approach it effectively. Plus, lobbying requires a significant time investment that many businesses don’t have available. This is why many businesses choose to reach out to lobbying groups who can lobby on their behalf.

As part of a group of businesses led by the Chamber, you can have a much stronger voice exerting influence on policies affecting businesses. We speak with our members on a regular basis so that we are aware of issues that are impacting the growth and success of their business, and we use our position to present those issues to politicians on a local, regional and national level.

To find out more about the lobbying work we are doing to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, please get in touch.

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