Any organisation or agency is free to lobby for changes in the budget and Finance Acts. In fact in excess of 100 such submissions are received annually.
The current system of lobbying is unsatisfactory as most submissions simply state a list of measures which are devised by their organisation without any view on the overall budgetary impact of proposals. It was for this reason that I announced in my budget speech that all submissions should in future be made to the Finance and General Affairs Committee. That committee will evaluate the contents of such submissions, will meet with representative groups and will submit a report to me with their recommendations.
The revised procedure will allow for much more in-depth, open and public consideration of proposals from interest groups. The recommendations arising from this consultation process would constitute a valuable contribution to the way in which budgetary proposals are formulated. Whereas the operation of this consultation process has to be settled with the Finance and General Affairs Committee, I am confident that the revised procedures can result in a more open and transparent system of lobbying for change.