A fight for freedom
LESS than a week ago, the Chancellor pledged to spend a blistering £27billion more than he’d planned.
Yet despite his profligacy, he found no spare cash to lift the threat hanging over Freedom of Information laws, which cost a mere £5.7million to administer (50 times less than the Government splurges on its own spin and marketing).
Part of the Government’s justification for this assault on openness is that answering requests is too expensive.
In fact, the FoI Act can save many times more than it costs. Only last month, the Mail and TaxPayers’ Alliance used it to expose the vast scale of pay and perks in the public sector, prompting ministers to promise a crackdown.
As senior Tory David Davis put it yesterday at the launch of a campaign to save FoI laws from ministers’ attempts to water them down, the openness they guarantee ‘saves money, it saves lives and it leads to better government’.
This paper wishes the campaign every success in preserving the Act – and, with it, the means to unearth official wrongdoing and uphold the public’s right to know how our cash is spent.