The Lobbying Act is in full force and charities are apparently scaling back political comment in fear of being reprimanded by the Electoral Commission for being a non-party campaigner. But corporates are not so shy.
Take Boots’ attack on Ed Miliband and the resulting argument with the Labour party. With the Lobbying Act limiting spending on regulated PR activities, the Electoral Commission will be keen to note that Boots have spent an estimated £10,000 so far on essentially trying to encourage voters to vote against Labour:
The numbers are calculated based on the salary averages and estimated hours worked so far below:
|Annual salary||Hourly||Number of hours||Declared total||Source|
|Placing initial story|
|Director of corp comms||92000||44.23076923||12||530.7692308||http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Director_of_Communications/Salary (corporate jobs tend to pay much higher than average)|
|Corporate comms manager||55466||26.66634615||12||319.9961538||http://www.prweek.com/article/1088355/pr-census-paid|
|Public affairs manager||55000||26.44230769||8||211.5384615||http://www.prospects.ac.uk/public_affairs_consultant_salary.htm|
|Social media exec||25556||12.28653846||8||98.29230769||http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Social_Media_Manager/Salary|
|Issue on newswires||400|
|Director of corp comms||92000||44.23076923||8||353.8461538||See above|
|Public affairs manager||55000||26.44230769||8||211.5384615||See above|
|Social media exec||25556||12.28653846||16||196.5846154||See above|
|Radar, press cuttings and share of other expenses||500|
But what bit of “if they [Labour] acted as they speak, it would be a catastrophe” is not part of a campaign to encourage the public to vote for or against a candidate or a series of candidates? And it is on how “a reasonable person” could interpret these comments that the Electoral Commission will judge Boots and its status as a non-party campaigner.