Monday, October 16, 2006

Labour Curtails Your Right to Know

Labour has announced today a harsh restriction of the public's right to Freedom of Information.
Currently, no one is charged for any request which costs less than a notional £600 to process (£450 for local authorities).

According to a Conservative Press statement civil servants' and town hall officials’ “reading time, consideration time and consultation time” is to be included in the calculation of costs, meaning more requests will hit the notional £600 limit. As a result, the public will increasingly be asked to pay a fee to make a request to the government or their town hall.

I wonder why this could be...

27 comments:

AnyonebutBlair said...

The openness of this government knows no beginning. Why did they bother with the FOIA other than museli-eating guardian readers liked it? Then set out to debase and frustrate any FOI? Looking more broadly, how many times when the government has a problem with something does Jeremy Paxman say "We invited the government to take part in this programme but they declined". Looking forward to the memoirs of what has really happened, when Blunkett-like the ex-ministers set off to coin it.

Anonymous said...

http://politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2006/10/16/wholl-get-the-boot-so-brown-can-have-his-balls-2/#comments

Balls looking for new seat? Will NHS cuts affect choice - Huddersfield a top choice due to proximaty to wifes seat is having big NHS cuts. Sitting MP is of pensionable age - new labour deviousness- i.e. sheerman elevated and balls lands seat plus last minute salvation of cuts?

Anonymous said...

I presume that questions such as "Why is this country run by such a lying tosser?" will continue to be exempt from such charges?

I stilll cannot work out whether Blair or Blunkett is lying over the alleged 15 year heart problem history of the Dear Leader. When it comes to economy with the veritee between thise two it really is a toss-up.

Anonymous said...

anyone: "Jeremy Paxman say "We invited the government to take part in this programme but they declined"."

As in "I asked Michael Howard to give me a straight answer about giving the head of the prison servive instructions about sacking a governor but he declined." ?

Anonymous said...

When Cameron wins will he revoke?

David said...

Yes, it's all rather worrying isn't it; pricing us out of information we have rights to. However, it's not as worrying as Ruth Kelly's new "I'm a woman, honest" haircut that's been all over the papers this morning.

AnyonebutBlair said...

Anonymous 3:25. Yes, but two wrongs don't make a right.
Forgive me but hasn't NuLab been in power for nearly a decade? Complaining about the last Tory government's actions (soooo long ago) is a refuge for the desparate. I'm pointing out the shallowness of NuLabs media strategy of not turning up to current affairs programmes where they will actually be grilled about something controversial. At least the Tories (and Howard in your example) did turn up (OK he didn't answer the question though !!)

Flavious said...

It's no different to the clowns "the Army can have whatever it wants" statement of last week.

He means anything you want as long as you ask for nothing. Since the public cannot be relied upon to make that quantum leap of conceptualisation he is obliged to make it financially exhaustive to make the request instead.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I stilll cannot work out whether Blair or Blunkett is lying over the alleged 15 year heart problem history of the Dear Leader. When it comes to economy with the veritee between thise two it really is a toss-up."

Well ex-President Clinton also mentioned Bliar's heart trouble so it must be true! Oh... Sorry, this was the man who DIDN'T have sexual relations with that woman, and the man Bliar modeled himself on!

Oh well, the Queen has also mentioned Bliar's heart trouble and given the choice between believing that lying scumbag who I would not purchase a 20 year old ford escort from, or believing the Queen, well...

I might not be a royalist but I believe the Queen!!

It seriously has got to the point where I CANNOT watch bliar any more, or bush, they just offend me, every word that comes out of either of them is complete and utter bollocks

Casual Observer said...

Has Buggins Brown run out of stealth tax wheezes or does nulab really have much to hide?

istanbultory said...

Nu Labour have got plenty of dirty laundry they don’t want the masses getting a look at (Imagine Prescott’s). They are intent on reducing the amount of information released under the Freedom of Information Act for good reason.
In 2003, Ireland introduced a small up-front application fee under its FOI Act and the number of requests instantly dropped to one quarter the previous year's level.

jimthechimp said...

Why should we have a right to know anything? After many years of perhaps knowing more than I really wanted to do, I feel that ignorance is a much underated quality.

So if you want to know, what's wrong with paying for it?; the money will help fund the education system that keeps many of our fellow citizens blissfully ignorant.

Rigger Mortice said...

they're skint across the board

as an economic visionary,GB makes a good chemist

Splashitallover said...

At least there is a Freedom of Information Act now, even though it's weak as water.

We waited in vain for one during the eighteen long years of Thatcher/Major.

If the Tories pledged to go further on FOI, they'd get my vote. but as with ID cards, I suspect that once they get control of the train set again, their authoritarian instincts will come to the fore, just as happened with Labour.

Rog said...

It's very depressing.

NuLab are thwarting all attempts to find out what they're actually up to, and brainwashed anti-tories still try to put the blame on the Conservatives.

Dessperate and delusional stuff.

Somersetblue said...

I think that the whole FOIA was just a delaying tactic in the first place.

Loads of information - even information publicly available - has been mixed up with this mess.

Sadly, it's typical of Labour to produce a piece of legislation which doesn't work. This is the first of many to go horribly wrong over the coming years....

Woffle said...

I don't agree... answering FOI requests costs something, in terms of time and preparation. Lots of organisations employ full time FOI officers etc because they receive so many enquiries.

Someone has to pay for this - either the person making the request, or Joe Taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

One of these days the general public will wake up and realise they're living in a de facto Police State.

Shotgun said...

Casual Observer said...

Has Buggins Brown run out of stealth tax wheezes or does nulab really have much to hide?


Nope, he hasn't finished. The BBC has just splurged the start of the media campaign for road pricing per mile.

Motorists will be screwed again.

Indigo said...

I am really unhappy about this curtailment. Blair and his self-serving, lying, morally bankrupt crew cannot walk the plank too soon. Perhaps Blunkett can walk the plank into a hail of machine-gun fire, the fate he wished on the prisoners and staff of Lincoln Prison.

Newscounter said...

some fair points made here.

However, we haven't heard from government what status this report has and why they're considering it.

Why cant we read the other side of the story?

Anonymous said...

Well in my experience it's because Labour MPs, Labour councillors,and Labour stooges submit numerous open-ended "fishing expedition" requests to see every minute of every meeting at vast cost to the (non-Labour) local authority I'm a member on in terms of the time of the staff who have to trawl through endless documents to meet their petty nitpicking requests....

Pedant said...

Couldn't have been trailed to take all our minds off something else? I think all your adjectives are far too moderate and kind.

Anonymous said...

It's not the public but bone-idle journalists who have been going on publicly-funded fishing expeditions that this is obvioulsy meant to stop. Why should I pay through my taxes for journos to write about taxi chits and the like rather than getting off their arses and doing some proper journalism which, if it's good enough, people will pay for by buying the sodding papers?

H Brooke said...

Here's why everyone Conservative or Labour should care about the curtailment of Freedom of Information.

It's the simplest and cheapest way to ensure government is run in a cost effective and professional manner. It exposes excessive bureaucracy and waste BEFORE taxpayer money gets dropped into a black hole never to be seen again. Look at past money-burning projects as an example of the costs of secrecy: Dome, NHS IT project, Criminal Records Bureau, Child Support Agency...and many more!

The measly cost of FOI is peanuts compared to the cost of propaganda pumped out by politicians. Witness the government PR industry that now employs 3259 press officers and has a budget of £322 million just for the Central Office of Information alone.

Journalists need raw data not spin and therefore I would have thought everyone is in favour of making empirical facts easier to acces. After all we, as taxpayers, have paid for the creation of all this information. It belongs to us and we have to right to see it.
Regards,
Heather
www.yrtk.org

H Brooke said...

Here's why everyone Conservative or Labour should care about the curtailment of Freedom of Information.

It's the simplest and cheapest way to ensure government is run in a cost effective and professional manner. It exposes excessive bureaucracy and waste BEFORE taxpayer money gets dropped into a black hole never to be seen again. Look at past money-burning projects as an example of the costs of secrecy: Dome, NHS IT project, Criminal Records Bureau, Child Support Agency...and many more!

The measly cost of FOI is peanuts compared to the cost of propaganda pumped out by politicians. Witness the government PR industry that now employs 3259 press officers and has a budget of £322 million just for the Central Office of Information alone.

Journalists need raw data not spin and therefore I would have thought everyone is in favour of making empirical facts easier to acces. After all we, as taxpayers, have paid for the creation of all this information. It belongs to us and we have to right to see it.
Regards,
Heather
www.yrtk.org

Anonymous said...

I am surprised this hasn't received more coverage in the main stream media. What is especially scary is that there is a rumour that the £ 600 limit would apply to EACH organisation.

Unless this was a bit of spin so that when we find out that the BBC can ask lots of questions, as long as individual requests don't cost more than £ 600 we think 'Oh, well that's all fine and dandy then'.

It bloody stinks, like much else about this 'government'...