Plain English Campaign are known for their annual awards ceremony and especially the infamous Golden Bull awards. The London event has taken place every December for the past 30 years. These light-hearted Golden Bulls ‘name and shame’ the culprits of jargon and gobbledygook, whilst the awards for crystal-clear communication give the straight-talking organisations some well-deserved recognition.
But with another Budget rolling out in politicians’ waffle and financial jargon, there is every reason to bring the Golden Bulls forward for 2009. After 30 years of campaigning by Chrissie Maher OBE, founder of Plain English Campaign, there are currently two public inquiries from the House of Lords and the House of Commons into how Parliament and
government offices communicate with the public.
Government offices and business organisations expect the public to deal with what has confounded the financial experts, who have repeatedly admitted their lack of understanding. Jargon can leave individuals floundering, many to the point of bankruptcy or repossession. The banks may have been bailed out, but the jargon-filled communication of the Budget is letting down everyone who believes in the right to crystal-clear information.
Hopefully, many of our 730 peers and 446 MPs will take advantage of free plain English training sessions before the Plain English Campaign 2009 awards and escape the ‘Bulls’.
Chrissie says, “If getting plain English legislation for public information could take another 30 years of campaigning, at least educating those with power might show future generations the value of clear communications.“
We have put together a glossary to help explain some of the terms used in this budget
Budget glossary 2009
|Billion||A thousand million(1,000,000,000).|
|Diverse||Varied, not alike.|
|Efficiency savings||Cutting waste to make savings.|
|Emerging and developing countries||Countries that are experiencing rapid business growth.|
|Fiscal||Government finances, especially taxes.|
|Fiscal support||Government financial support.|
|G20||The 20 richest countries in the world which meet to discuss economic matters.|
|GDP||Gross domestic product, which is the value of goods and services a country produces.|
|Global growth||The worldwide increase in goods and services produced.|
|IMF||The International Monetary Fund. It is made up of countries which pay a subscription to join. It helps members which have financial problems.|
|Public debt||Government debt.|
|Public sector net borrowing||Government debt minus money owed to the Government.|
|Recession||A period when there is less economic activity and people are poorer.|
|Shared equity||A share in a house or flat.|
|Trillion||A million million (1,000,000,000,000).|