Councils face ban on lobbying

Councils are to be banned from hiring lobbying companies amid accusations that they are using public money to run political campaigns.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, claimed town halls were increasingly hiring lobbyists to make their case for extra public money or alter legislation to their benefit. He named 74 councils and police authorities which have signed contracts with public affairs companies to lobby the government on their behalf and said the practice would end under new rules to come into force shortly.

Councils will not be banned from hiring public affairs companies to provide public relations advice.