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The fact remains that, from a Government perspective, we do not want to be in a position where organisations currently assisting the Government are not able to campaign in election campaigns.
Amendment 66 would amend clause 27 so that it no longer lowers the expenditure threshold that third parties may exceed only after they register with the Electoral Commission. Clause 27 proposes that those registration thresholds be set at £5,000 in England and £2,000 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Government are seeking to do that because we believe in greater transparency. We believe it is important that people understand who is campaigning in the course of election campaigns. It has been said, possibly by the Chair of the Select Committee, that that will have a huge impact on a very large number of charities. The Government’s assessment of how many extra charities will be included as a result of dropping the threshold is 30—just 30 charities would be affected. I accept that potentially 30 charities may be affected, but in practice the overwhelming majority of charities will not be affected.