Lobbying is an integral part of our democratic system, allowing interested parties to present data and arguments to policy-makers and thus helping politicians to make good public decisions. But it is closely linked to power – and power inequalities – and can thus distort public decision-making. This is why it requires public scrutiny. The economic weight of the food and drink sector in the UK makes it particularly important to analyse the industry’s numerous interactions with policy-makers.
This Discussion Paper presents publicly available information on some recently declared meetings between food and drink businesses and UK policy-makers. These declarations are broad and largely unhelpful. The report shows that other countries have much more stringent requirements for disclosing lobbying activities. By adopting some of these, the UK could improve transparency and trust in lobbying, business and policy-making.